Arlington Organizations Highlight Community Projects at United Way Luncheon
By brittneyphillips
Posted on April 12, 2017, April 12, 2017

 Highlight Community

The American Dream City is filled with individuals and organizations working tirelessly to help better the community and support those in need.

United Way of Tarrant County, for example, has 4 partner agencies based in Arlington and another 19 with offices or programs serving Arlington; all working to improve the lives of residents through education, income and healthcare assistance.

On Wednesday, April 12, representatives from many of these organizations gathered at the United Way's Report to the Community luncheon to share examples about how their work is changing lives.

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams, one of eight speakers at the luncheon, talked about his new Kindness Initiative. Williams said the initiative is designed to get Arlington residents to think of ways to be kinder and help others, whether through a simple gesture such as opening the door for someone or mowing the yard of an elderly neighbor.

"We've got to do more. We've got to do more than just raising our kids. We've got to help others. With kindness on each other's minds and the can-do spirit of Arlington, great days are ahead," Williams said.

Other speakers at the luncheon included:

  • Jennifer Weber with Arlington Urban Ministries said her organization is working to feed low-income families. On the first Wednesday of every month, Arlington Urban Ministries partners with the Tarrant Area Food Bank to offer a mobile food pantry. The pantry distributes 40 pounds of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, breads, and dairy to qualified families in Arlington. Last October Arlington Urban Ministries partnered with United Way, Walgreens and the FamilyWize Community Service Partnership to provide over 140 flu shots to people who came to the mobile food pantry. Forty percent of those who received the shots said they usually don't get a shot or had not had one in more than three years.
  • Bowie Hogg, Arlington ISD Board of Trustees member, talked about two United Way initiatives to promote reading readiness. More than 800 children under the age of 5 in Arlington have received free books shipped directly to their houses as part of the Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program. Some Arlington campuses are also working to encourage a love of reading by working with United Way to create inviting reading areas with comfy chairs, bookshelves, new books, CD players and books on CD.
  • Aaron Perales, Parent and Community Engagement Director with Arlington ISD, shared his excitement over the district's partnership with United Way, the NFL and Dallas Cowboys to create the Character Playbook initiative. This past school year, nearly 3,500 students participated in the character education program during their Career, Technology, and Higher Education Investigation classes. Dallas Cowboys Rookie Club members Dak Prescott and Ezekial Elliott helped 8th graders celebrate the launch of the initiative at Workman Junior High.

"We have a lot of faithful people serving those in need here in Arlington," said Phillip Wambsganss, Chair of the United Way-Arlington Steering Committee and Executive Director of Higher Education Servicing Corporation and North Texas Higher Education Authority.

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