MONTICELLO- It can be overwhelming when you feel like it is solely your responsibility to deal with life’s problems. Mabe your kids need new coats, or you don’t know how you’ll put dinner on the table tonight. Perhaps you need a new bed because yours is tearing at the seams, but you have to prioritize your electric bill over the comfort of a good night’s sleep. With initiatives like Valley Oaks’ Community Navigator Program, you don’t have to tackle those issues alone.
Since developing the Community Navigator Program in September, Valley Oaks has gone above and beyond helping the community. Specifically, they helped those who were at their last resort, those who had exhausted all their options and still couldn’t make ends meet. I could tell you that the Community Navigator Program provided three beds with complete bedding to kids, but that’s only covering the statistics, not the story behind the beds. The numbers don’t tell you that those beds kept children from being separated from their parents, and their families didn’t have to be torn apart. I could tell you that Valley Oaks helped 19 clients avoid shutoffs of their utilities, but, again, the numbers don’t tell you that many of those households had minor children living in them. 19 different households didn’t have to fall behind on their utility payments; 19 different families didn’t have to worry about having hot water or a warm home.
Additionally, with funds from the Community Navigator Program, a father was able to reinstate his driver’s license so he could go to work and provide for his family. One individual’s copayment deductible was paid for a prescription medication they needed, but couldn’t afford. Valley Oaks even worked with individual entities within the community to provide Christmas presents for 27+ children who were unable to participate in programs like Angel Tree and Toys for Tots.
The people Valley Oaks helped out aren’t just statistics, they are real people in our own community. You pass them at Walmart, you sit with them in church, and your kids play with them at recess. In these uncertain times, we can’t always see how we will get through these difficult situations, and we sometimes need help from others to make it to the end. Programs like Valley Oaks’ Community Navigator program are there to offer a helping hand to those in need, even if they can’t always see it.
Jordan Day has been with the United Way since May 2020, and is currently working as a Social Media Consultant for WCUW.