‘Through Tough Times’

United Way Officially Kicks Off Its 2019 Campaign

United Way began its 2019 campaign in the Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union parking lot. A special presentation was created by the Eastside Y’s Summer Power Scholars Program. P-J photo by Carly Gould

United Way of Southern Chautauqua County started its 2019 campaign Tuesday.

The kickoff campaign was held in the Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union parking lot at 1283 E. Second St. and included words from the campaign chairman, John LaMancuso, and a special presentation from the Eastside Y’s Summer Power Scholars Program.

“I think compared to some, I lived an easy life,” LaMancuso said. “There are people in the community who are struggling and going through tough times. I feel thankful that I am able to give back to the community in this way. It’s only through thousands of people with a single goal in mind that we are able to help as many people as we do.”

The Eastside Y is one of the partners with United Way, and the students of the Summer Power Scholars Program sang a special song they wrote called “Learn ‘Til I Can’t No More,” as a way to show their appreciation and what they had learned during the summer. John Barber, the teen director at the YMCA, introduced the children of the program. Alex Antigua, the program director for Eastside Y, shared his story about how the YMCA helped him throughout his life.

“The Y has always been there for me, so I wanted to be there for the Y,” Antigua said. “I’ve seen what the community can do for people because I lived through it.”

The kickoff also included a video “Change Doesn’t Happen Alone,” showcasing the organizations that support United Way, and how they help the Southern Chautauqua community.

United Way also handed out soup cans to collect change in and calendars to help inspire families to help the community and donating to charities.

“I am a firm believer that life does not get better with chance,” said John Felton, CEO of the Credit Union. “Life gets better when you choose change. United Way gives us all a chance to choose change.”

United Way, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving lives of the community to advance the common good, has helped seniors remain in their homes, enabled adults suffering from addiction to receive recovery coaching, provided out of school programs and individualized support to at risk youth and much more, according to the video.

United Way was established 1920 as the Jamestown Community Chest and will be celebrating its 100th year next year. Since it was created, United Way has managed to raise over $1.35 million annually with its campaigns, which is then used to help the community with its most critical needs. Some of the projects include community baby showers, the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, volunteer income tax assistance, and donating to local charities.

“In the words of Steve Jobs,” Felton said, “only those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who will probably do it.”

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