For the past six months, your United Way of Cayuga County has been celebrating 75 years of being a countywide organization—serving neighbors throughout the city and ALL 23 towns. In a previous article, we shared an overview of how your dollars impact our friends in County South in the towns of Springport, Ledyard, Genoa, Venice, Scipio, Niles, Moravia, Sempronius, Locke, and Summerhill. Today, we are sharing three stories from our Member Agencies who provided critical programming to our County South neighbors in the areas of Financial Stability, Education, and Safety Net Needs. While you read, consider celebrating our milestone year with a $75 gift and ensure these programs continue to provide essential services in Cayuga County.
Chapel House Homeless Shelter | Shelter & Case Management Services
At Chapel House Homeless Shelter, they believe that “the drive to keep moving forward is by giving a hand up, not a handout.” Your dollars support both shelter needs and case management services to give our neighbors the support they need. While the shelter itself is in Auburn, the individuals who utilize this program come from all regions of Cayuga County, including a gentleman who we’ll call “John” from Moravia.
Upon being released from Cayuga Correctional Facility, John found himself without a place to live and no family nor friends to lean on for support. John was sent to the Cayuga County Department of Social Services for assistance. After completing a lengthy screening assessment, he was determined to be homeless and referred to Chapel House’s Men Shelter on Franklin St. in Auburn.
John began actively working with his Case Manager to design his individualized living plan—with a primary goal of finding safe, permanent housing. After four months of being at the shelter, John started to feel discouraged as the economy made it difficult to find an affordable place to call home. His Case Manager was supportive and encouraged John to keep trying. John was able to find sustainable employment, increasing his income, and allowed him the financial stability needed to secure an apartment.
Since moving into his new home, John gives back to the shelter as a volunteer. This past holiday season, John lent a helping hand and gave the same support and encouragement to the men at the shelter that his Case Manager gave him.
Since 2016, your gifts to the United Way of Cayuga County have transitioned individuals from homelessness into safe housing, connecting them to case management services, and helping secure sustainable employment through Chapel House Homeless Shelter. Your dollars give individuals, like John, the chance to get their life back on track.
Camp Gregory | Youth Camping
For more than 80 years, Camp Gregory has been providing summer camp experiences on the shores of Cayuga lake in the town of Ledyard. Annually, about 60% of Campers come from the towns in Southern Cayuga. Today, your gift provides an enriching camp experience for youth in grades K – 10. For the upcoming 2024 season, Camp Gregory is offering five weeks of camp, both day and overnight sessions. Each week offers its own theme such as ‘Into the Wild’, ‘STEM’, and ‘Adventure’.
Camp Gregory offers a 34-acre dynamic, living classroom to provide activities and learning experiences that empower children to embrace their fullest potential. Believing that a transformational summer camp experience should be accessible to all youth, regardless of income, Camp Gregory offers multiple scholarships each year thanks to your United Way dollars—in 2023, seven scholarships were awarded.
United Way funding has allowed Camp Gregory to continue the development and growth of camp programming and curriculum to connect with a broader range of children. Last summer, your dollars were used to expand the challenge course along the hiking path at camp. This improvement project created a space where campers engaged in logic, reason, and teamwork to conquer each task. The infusion of critical thinking and teamwork adds both an element of fun to their camp journey as well as teaching essential life skills.
Camp Gregory shares “we believe in preparing our campers not just for a memorable summer but for a successful future beyond camp.” When you support the United Way of Cayuga County, you are creating a lifelong, positive impact for generations—as campers grow up and have families of their own, many send their children to Camp Gregory.
Are you interested in enrolling your children into camp? Registration is live now! Check out Camp Gregory’s website to learn more and enroll today.
Transportation Project of Cayuga County | SCAT Van Services
SCAT Van offers door-to-door transportation for our senior (60+) and disabled neighbors. Their fleet of seven vans are based out of Cato, Auburn, Union Springs, and Moravia. Executive Director, Sue Van Epps, shared a recent transport story for three Moravia residents.
The Moravia SCAT Van team is short staffed for volunteers and in mid-January there were no drivers available. Sue shares “I had told my Moravia dispatcher that I would do the run with the help of a Union Springs volunteer. We started out at 6:45 am and headed to Moravia to pick up the van.” The first pick-up was on Oak Hill Rd and the third lives on Lake Cuomo in the town of Summerhill—both needing groceries. The second client, who is in a wheelchair, was heading to a doctor’s appointment. It took 45 minutes to pick everyone up before heading to Auburn.
Having not met these neighbors before, Sue said “we chatted the whole way to Auburn. They each told us how much they loved our drivers and how important our service is to them.” By noon, the neighbor in the wheelchair was home and shared how grateful she was for the regular rides to her medical appointments. The other two clients had a few local errands to run at the bank, post office, library, and store before heading home.
Your dollars allow neighbors, especially in the rural parts of Cayuga County, to remain independent and in their communities. Sue says “I am so thankful for our volunteers and the hard work they do. Many miles were traveled that day, but so appreciated by our riders. It was so heartwarming to meet these individuals and be able to help them as I don't know what they would do without our service.” SCAT Van is seeking volunteer drivers and escorts. To learn more and volunteer, call Sue at 315.253.3548.
With less than a month before the 2023-24 Campaign closes, we need your help to reach our $750,000 goal! This year, we’ve received grant applications from 28 nonprofits who, collectively, have requested $100,000 more than last season. Reaching our goal is more critical than ever to meet the increased needs of our community. If 1,800 individuals make a gift of $75 by March 22nd, we will meet our goal—can we count on you?
Support the Next 100 Years and give today!
Article written by United Way of Cayuga County staff | Thursday, February 8, 2024