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THE POST-SIGNAL / Desiray Seaux
Margaret Trahan, center, United Way of Acadiana president/CEO spoke to the Crowley Rotary Club on Tuesday. Welcoming her were Rotary President Suzy Webb, left, and Rotarian Isabella delaHoussaye.

Rotarians hear about United Way services

Margaret Trahan, a Crowley native and President/CEO of United way of Acadiana, spoke to Crowley Rotarians about how United Way is helping relief efforts in horrible catastrophes such as recent Hurricane Harvey.
Trahan says that “there is a natural desire to mobilize around an issue, focus on the problem and work together to solve that issue.”
According to the United Way’s webpage their history begins in 1887, a Denver Women, a priest, two ministers and a rabbi got together and recognized the need to work together in new ways to make their community a better place. The idea became the nations first united campaign, benefitting ten area health and welfare agencies. They created an organization to collect funds for local charities, to coordinate relief services, to counsel an refer clients to cooperating agencies, and to make emergency assistance grants for cases that could not be referred.
By 1889 they had received over $21,000. It was the beginning of creating a movement to become United Way.
According to inflation calculations the approximate value of $21,000 in 1889 is about $533,000 by modern standards.
Over a century has passed since its founding and a few things have changed over time to better suit the communities in need.
Trahan said they “used to give money to non-profits but at the end of the day no problems were being solved.
During the restructuring of United Way they reached out to the community asking what was the most important concern for the citizens. Education, financial prosperity and good health are the three most common things that people care about. In conclusion United Way changed the way in which they do business.
“United Way still provides solutions to communities toughest problems. But they are not your grandfather’s United Way,” according to the website.
Trahan urged community leaders to become involved by encouraging them with the promise that United Way will help with support in the background or forefront in community projects.
The United Way webpage goes on to state that “Today’s Untied Way is bring people, organizations and communities together around a common cause, a common vision, and a common path forward. And that, currently they are engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories.”
Trahan then urged to help the evacuees that are currently being housed in our local communities. She says that many of the evacuees “don’t know what they need because they are in a state of shock.”
One of the United Ways ongoing projects is the Dolly Parton’s imagination library. The imagination library mails every child enrolled in the program one new book per month. “Dolly’s vision was to foster a love of reading among her countries preschool children and their families by providing them with a book each month.”According to the website. Parents can register their children online at http://www.imaginationlibrary.com the books will be mailed directly to the child’s home.
Other programs offered are United Way Born Learning, early learning initiative; Myfreetax.org, an online free tax preparation service; 2-1-1, a confidential health and human services hotline; Play60, partnership with NFL, seeks to insure children have healthy food and exercise; United Way is fighting to end modern slavery with safe havens; and the aging initiative focused on quality of life of elders.
Also Trahan offers supplies to any organization delivering supplies to Texas.
Contact United Way at 337.706.1232.

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