| Your United
Way works . . .
senior administrative assistant for the Dean of Faculty of Arts
"Basically, the reason that I enjoy
giving to the United Way is that I wish everyone could be as
blessed as I am and I wish to share what I have with those who
arenít as fortunate.
"I was never really taught about
money or how it could be responsibly used. But as I have gotten
older, I have realized that what we do with our money is a part
of our maturity. Being a responsible citizen means responsibly
using our resources for our own well-being as well as contributing
to the well-being of our community. By reassessing my priorities,
I have been able to set aside a portion of what I earn for the
United Way to support those programs that are so critical to
Silliman, executive director of the Center on Law, Ethics and
National Security at Duke Law School :
"My real connection with United
Way is more personal -- as a recipient of its services. Shortly
after I retired in 1993 after 25 years of practicing law as
an Air Force judge advocate to come to Duke Law School to teach
and establish the center which I now direct, my wife was diagnosed
with ovarian cancer. She succumbed after a heroic two and one-half
year struggle. In the final six months of her life, she was
under the care of Triangle Hospice, an organization supported
by United Way. I was so impressed with the compassionate care
rendered to my wife and the dedication of the people associated
with Hospice, that I not only made a direct contribution to
them but I also agreed to speak about my experience to the Duke
Law School faculty at a special meeting promoting participation
in United Way. I was then, and still remain, a firm supporter
of United Way and its supported activities."
Coleman, staff assistant at the medical centerís Clinical Research
"I used to work at a manufacturing
firm in Onslow County, which is not one of the highest-paid
areas around, and at least 85 percent of the people who worked
there gave to the United Way. I donít know if it was done out
of loyalty. We just believed in trying to support the community.
And with payroll deduction, you didnít even miss it. Not everyone
could afford to give $10 or $20 per payday. They may have given
only 50 cents or a dollar, but that adds up, too. Every little
"I just found out that at Duke thereís
only 13 percent participation. Thatís astounding. A few people
asked me, ĎWhy should I give to the United Way?í Besides all
the good deeds that the United Way does and all the help that
it provides, it makes me feel good knowing that Iím helping
director of publications at the law school and an instructor with
the Duke Institute for Learning in Retirement :
"Iím one of these fortunate folks
who has not needed the United Way, but there are a whole host
of people who have not been as fortunate. My strong support
for United Way flows from a strong commitment to the American
Red Cross. All of the money I give to the United Way goes directly
to the Red Cross.
"I am a pheresis donor -- people
who have various types of cancer, particularly leukemia, anyone
going through a bone marrow transplant, they have a great need
for platelets and you get those platelets through pheresis donations.
They basically take blood out of one arm, run it though a machine,
take out the platelets and then put the blood back in your other
arm. With all the bone marrow work in this area, the tremendous
cancer research and treatment, there is a great need for platelets.
"Iíve got all these platelets in
me, someone else could use them, so why not give them up. To
me, the Red Cross is the one doing all the work. Theyíre the
ones who deal with the logistics of getting the platelets from
donor to patient. Thatís one arm of the Red Cross. The other
is the one that helps people after some type of disaster. Theyíre
the ones who deserve the credit."
story . . .
Seven miles from Duke's campus, Teisha
bites her lip and struggles with a math problem that stands between
her and her future. She's passed four of the five tests she needs
to get her General Equivalency Degree, but the math test is by
far the hardest, and she doubts that she can do it, no matter
how hard she studies.
Help arrives in the form of math
wiz Shannon Pollard, a Duke graduate student. "Hey
there, Teisha," Pollard says, as she slides into a chair next
to her student. "Oh good, you're working on percents. I've got
the greatest trick for percents. You're going to love it." Pollard
speaks with infectious enthusiasm, and her confidence radiates
like a neon light. The student lets out a sigh and smiles with
Fifteen minutes later, Teisha is smoothly
solving the page of problems that had so daunted her before. Pollard
tutors three days a week for the Durham County Literacy Council.
"It's exciting when a student passes one of the tests," Pollard
explains. "I know what some of them have gone through, and I know
how much it means to them to pass."
Pollard is one of the many volunteers
assisting the Durham Literacy Council, one of 86 agencies that
receives funds from the Triangle United Way. According to the
Literacy Council, an estimated one of every five Durham residents
is functionally illiterate, which means they can't read a newspaper
article, fill out a job application or find a location on a map.
Without these most basic tools, they face a life of limited opportunities.
The Durham County Literacy Council
attacks the problem of adult literacy with an army of volunteers
who help teach small classes, work one-on-one with individuals
or, like Pollard, assist with GED classes. "I
wanted to do something that really counted," Pollard says, explaining
why she chose to volunteer with the Literacy Council. "Getting
their GED is really important to the students I work with, and
it makes me feel good to be able to help them. But it's also important
in a bigger way. I'm helping people become productive members
Lucy Haagen, executive director of
the Durham County Literacy Council, agrees."What we do is like
that old proverb," she says. "We give people the means to fish,
not just give them the fish."
How can the community help this important
work? "Volunteer," Haagen answers immediately. "We have a waiting
list of people needing to be matched with tutors." But
if you can't give time, you can help by supporting the Literacy
Council through the Duke-United Way Partnership, which is currently
by Mesa Somer