YouTube and Community Stories
United Way of Portage County
Girl Scouts of North East Ohio
As a Girl Scout, girls are provided with the tools to build courage, confidence, and character. The following story is about a Girl Scout named Sarah* who made a significant difference in the life of a friend and her family.
One night Sarah overheard a conversation about a friend of hers who had no food in her house. Sarah had heard the mother of the household telling another woman that she had gotten a new case worker and that there would be a month-long hold for getting her food stamps.
Sarah had recently celebrated a birthday, and had received a check from an aunt from out of town as a gift. She asked her mother to take her to the bank to cash the check so that she could buy groceries for her friend and her mom. Sarah spent more than half of her birthday money to help her friend and her friend's mother get by. Sarah was thoughtful enough to plan out meals so the food she bought would last the family longer.
Sarah's act of kindness is just one example of how participating in Girl Scouts can help shape a girl's character.
Coleman Adult Day Services
Alice and Tom Smith* have been married for over 50 years and raised their family in Portage County. The couple has been battling Tom's dementia for many years. They struggled with the health care system to finally find a diagnosis for Tom's growing health issues.
Tom Smith worked several different jobs before dementia caused him to need constant supervision. Tom would sometimes become so confused that he would wander several blocks from home. Thankfully, neighbors would accompany him back to the house. Alice says she was near a nervous breakdown before she enrolled Tom in the Adult Day Services program in 2005. Determined to keep Tom at home for as long as possible, Alice has come to depend upon the care Tom receives three days each week at the Center. Alice is able to use her respite time to shop for groceries, clean house, attend to her own medical needs, and baby-sit her dear grandson, secure in the knowledge that Tom is enjoying his day while receiving his medications and assistance with his personal care needs in a safe, secure, and friendly environment.
On a warm July evening, as the Jones* family was getting ready to retire for the night, there was suddenly a loud banging on the front door accompanied by shouts from a neighbor "Your house is on fire!" These words prompted Mr. Jones to leap from his chair and run into the bedroom where his 87 year-old mother-in-law and mentally handicapped foster sister, Wendy were already in bed. As he led them outside to safety, his wife raced to retrieve the family pets and likewise lead them outside.
This family of five all made it safely outside where they watched in horror as their house was destroyed by fire. The structure was a total loss. As the comprehension of what had just occurred became real, they discovered that their beloved family pet dog, Maggie, was missing. Though the animal had made it out of the house alive, she was most likely traumatized by the ordeal and ran away.
The Red Cross arrived on the scene to provide for the family's immediate needs; food, shelter, clothing and emergency medication. However, this was a unique situation. An extended family with a variety of special needs. Wendy, who suffers from numerous physical and mental challenges, presented the greatest challenge. She is fed through a tube and requires certain types of sustenance. The Red Cross was able to provide for Wendy's special dietary needs.
This story has a happy ending. The family's home is being rebuilt; they should be able to move in by the summer. Several weeks after the fire, a neighborhood youngster while out riding his bike, found the family's dog Maggie. The family doesn't know how she sustained herself for the two weeks she was gone, but they were very thankful to have their beloved pet back home.
Portage County Home Delivered Meal Program
J and DB*
both receive hot home delivered meals. This husband and wife are 80 and 82 years old respectively. The wife is bed-ridden and is unable to care for herself due to a stroke. Her husband has lung disease which requires oxygen 24/7 and can not drive. They both depend on the meals to provide proper nutrition and subsequently lessen the overload of of responsibility of care to the wife.
B and MH* both received hot home delivered meals. This husband and wife are 87 and 90 years old respectively and have numerous medical conditions. They both have difficulty preparing meals and need assistance with proper diabetic diet compliance. The meals have helped them so much; they have asked to increase their meals from 4 meals each per week to 5 meals each per week. Their donation of $4.00 per meal plus the support of the Portage County United Way has enabled this couple to remain in their home.
*Names have been changed to protect the confidentiality of those involved.
Success stories provided by Portage County United Way.