Success Stories


Financial Stability

"One of the dads of a child in our school system was very ill and lost his job, so various United Way-sponsored organizations came together to help carry them through.  I'm happy to say that the dad is now healthy again and he got a job with a trucking company.  That company has allowed him to lease a used tractor-trailer through them while still working for the company. In a few short years, he will be the proud owner and operator of his own trucking business! I truly believe that if United Way had not helped this family through our Family Resource Centers, First Connections, and Helping Hand of Hope, there would have been a very unfortunate outcome to their situation. They quite possibly would have lost their children and their home. The dad would have lost hope - and without hope, he might not have been able to keep fighting against the many obstacles he faced.  Sometimes people just need to know that someone out there cares about them. I just want to say thank you, United Way, for allowing me to be instrumental in providing hope for people in their time of need!" - Hardin County Schools employee

The Hardin County Sheriff’s Department came upon a family of 5 living in a van. The father lost his job while trying to care for his ailing wife and their family lost their home when they were unable to pay the mother’s medical bills. Helping Hand of Hope was able to provide them with a gas voucher and a night’s lodging at a local motel.  Through their Helping Hand to Work program, funded by United Way, the husband secured employment and the family found an affordable apartment.  They are currently receiving money management counseling, so the family can get caught up on their medical bills and get back on their feet financially.

Andrea, a military spouse with three children, wanted to get her GED so she could go to college once her husband retired. Although a mature adult, she lacked confidence in her ability to return to school and her math skills. She diligently attended classes with the support of Hardin County Adult Education, coming at night if her work schedule prevented her from attending in the morning. Through the help of additional one-on-one tutoring, she earned her GED and a Silver National Career Readiness Certificate. Upon relocating for her spouse’s retirement, she took medical classes in vocational school and at the age of 41, applied to Oklahoma University for a degree in Hospital Administration.

Rachel was the mother of two children who needed the help of Head Start. While filling out her child’s application for services at Breckinridge-Grayson Programs, she indicated interest in working for the agency. She was hired as a part-time temporary substitute and bus monitor. She has now worked in this capacity for over four years. Rachel is enrolled in Early Childhood Education classes and completed her internship for her degree with the organization.

Community Action’s Community Collaboration for Children program found a family living in a hotel in Hardin County. The hotel conditions were horrible, and the family could not break out of the poor financial cycle that they were in. Through United Way funds, the family was moved into affordable housing and the caretaker was provided with interview attire, which led to full time employment. This family has since been able to maintain their housing and employment. Through this stability they have developed consistent routines and have bettered the lives of themselves and their son. They are now saving money and have a better understanding of how to remain financially stable.

LaQuitta dropped out of high school when she was 17 but with the help of UWCK funding for a success coach at Hardin County Adult and Community Education, she now has her GED and completed Student Registered Nurse Aide certification. Without the diploma and the SRNA certification, she would not be employed as a nurse's aide. “When I had problems with my work, she would sit down and work through everything with me," LaQuitta said. "Right before my GED test, we went to Burger King and she helped with everything I was having trouble with on my math. She had time to sit there all night with me and she answered all my emails and helped with all of the information I needed about college and what classes to take. She’s still willing to help me through college."

Early Childhood Education

Dear United Way of Central Kentucky,

 I'm writing to give an update on the latest happenings with some of my families that I serve.

First, I'll talk about the Ages & Stages questionnaire which we have been providing to all of our children. Screening the child enables me (and the parents) to see in what areas the child needs help with the most.  And, in some cases, I realize that the child needs more in-depth therapy than I'm able to give. That's when I ask the parent to consider allowing First Steps to come into the home and work with the child in those areas of delay. I try to impress upon the parent that the earlier the intervention takes place, the better. 

 Another area that I would like to talk about is Preschool. I consider Preschool a wonderful resource to which I can refer my children. I had been involved with a wonderful family consisting of a set of twins and a younger sibling.  In the beginning, the mother was staying home with the children while the father worked outside of the home. Then, the father became physically unable to work. So, they exchanged roles, and the father stayed home while the mother went to work. Then things went from bad to worse for the family. The father passed away suddenly which left the mother to raise her children alone. So, I made it a point to keep in contact with the mother being a support to her in any way I could. One day she shared with me that she was reluctantly making plans to send her twins to Kindergarten. She didn't feel like they were ready for Kindergarten, but, being confused about the age regulations, she thought she had no option. I felt like they would still qualify for one year of Preschool, so I talked to the Preschool teacher at that school - and come to find out, they were still eligible for Preschool.  And to make a long story short, those little fellas have absolutely flourished in Preschool! Their social skills (which they struggled with from staying home) have improved greatly! I sincerely believe this year of school that they're getting before starting Kindergarten will set a strong foundation for the rest of their lives!

The point I'm wanting to make by telling you about First Steps and Preschool referrals is this: If United Way of Central Kentucky had not allowed me the opportunity to take an active part in these children's lives, then they might have missed out on these crucial programs. And for that, I want to say "Thank You, United Way!"


Susan Catlett

Supportive Relationships

"I come from a single parent family of five. My mom works full-time, yet we can barely afford daily essentials. Before entering this after school program, my plan was to get through high school and just get a job. I had no real plan for my future. In fact, I always thought it would be impossible to go to college. This program helped me realize that there is an opportunity to have a career in a field that I love and earn enough money to support me and my family in the future. Now I am excited about entering high school and have a great plan for my future!” - Mackenzie, Stuart Pepper Middle School Career Pathways program participant, Meade County Schools

Jane came into foster care at age 15 after reporting on her parents making meth in their home and they were incarcerated. A CASA volunteer began visiting her regularly and provided encouragement, monitored Jane’s grades and therapeutic progress, and built a trust-based relationship with her. With this support, Jane graduated high school a year early and left the foster system at age 18. Jane is still in contact with her CASA volunteer, has entered college, works part-time, and continues to openly communicate with and rely on advice and support from her CASA volunteer. Jane has no family support system and considers her volunteer to be the only consistent, stable source of support in her life.

David was a 4th grade student being raised by his aunt and uncle after transferring to Meade County Schools from Louisville, where he was a grade behind in school.  In the first few weeks in the Meade Activity Center’s REC League After School Program, he was constantly acting out and had to be suspended from the program.  However, his involvement with other MAC programs funded by United Way has caused a dramatic change over time.   The consistent interaction of staff who serve as positive male role models across programs had a profound influence on his social skills and behavior.  Not only does he listen to staff, but he matured to a level that makes him an after-school participant leader.  “This program has helped change his whole experience since he moved down here with us,” said David’s uncle. “He absolutely loves the staff and loved playing basketball with them.  Your programs have turned things around at our house.” Since that time David has continued his success in school and at the MAC across multiple programs.

“Martha has greatly benefited from attending Panther Place.  She is from a home where only Spanish only is spoken, so doing homework would be very difficult without the support from the Panther Place staff.  She loves going and is doing so well memorizing her multiplication facts.  This program gives her the additional support she needs to be successful in the classroom!  The added confidence from this support is unbelievable.” - Mrs. Mary Bell

“The team at Elizabethtown Independent Schools’ Panther Place After School Program is making a difference in these children’s lives that cannot be measured by grades. Your staff is caring and patient with the kids. I would like to share a conversation I had with my grandson while he showed me his 100% spelling test. I was telling him how proud I was and that he was doing so well at school. He told me it was better this year than the previous year because he had frequently received poor grades on spelling tests then. I explained to him he just didn’t study as well then. He looked at me and let me know that wasn’t it. He said, ‘Last year I didn’t feel like I could do it. This year I feel like I can make good grades and learn better. I’m getting a lot smarter now’. Thank you for helping to build his confidence in himself. I cannot wait to see the progress he makes while growing up with your program.” – Sheri Coolidge


Mr. Blake was a 94-year-old veteran living in a Hardin County nursing home. He ran into Medicaid issues when he tried to help his family by transferring his home to them. The nursing home tried to discharge Mr. Blake because he was now unable to pay his bill. Legal Aid represented him and worked with his family, the nursing home, and Medicaid to resolve the issue. Mr. Blake was able to stay in the nursing home, providing him a safe place to live and giving his family peace of mind knowing their father was cared for.

“I have been a patient of the Community Health Clinic twice. In 2005 I started a job at the age 53, not yet insurance eligible. After 2 ½ weeks I had a heart attack and triple bypass. After discharge, I lost my job. I was uninsured and needed medications. The clinic provided doctor visits and medications. After recovery, I got a new job and worked a second job.  I got insurance and the clinic discharged me. After 6 years, I was laid off and again uninsured. I began drawing my late husband’s social security and worked part-time. The social security office told me I could work and make $700 a month and maintain my benefits. I applied for coverage under the Affordable Care Act the day it came open. They said I qualified for Medicaid. About 6 months later, I went to get my medicine only to learn my coverage had been cancelled! I went to the social security office. They told me to go to DCBS. DCBS told me my part-time job put me over-the-limit. I still needed to work to cover extra expenses like my car. I went back to the clinic and re-enrolled. I am a 63-year-old diabetic on multiple medications. Without the clinic, I would be dead. I cannot afford to purchase insurance. On 11/24/15 I was seen in the clinic. The doctor wanted a chest x-ray immediately. The clinic worked with HMH to get the x-ray the next morning, which showed I had pneumonia, but still I continued working. Dr. Quadri ordered an antibiotic shot for me for 7 days. The Clinic nurses came in daily and gave me my shot to keep me out of the hospital, even on Thanksgiving!” - J.E. Becker

At the age of 20, Chandra had cancer followed by a hysterectomy and later complications that required ongoing medications, occasional hospitalizations and treatments. At 26 she could no longer be covered under her parents’ insurance coverage. She and her mother – a nurse practitioner- sat down to enroll her into coverage during open enrollment. They ran into issues of uploading documentation and enrollment complications they were actively trying to overcome when open enrollment ended. At that time, they were told by DCBS she was out of luck and would have to wait until the next enrollment period to try again. Chandra and her mother thought they could navigate this system alone. As their last form of hope, they finally called the Community Health Clinic where Chandra’s mom had volunteered. Chandra brought in her documentation and her case was successfully completed by the Clinic’s KYNector and Chandra now has coverage!

Basic Needs

An elderly couple came to Helping Hand of Hope with an electric bill of over $400 for one month. After working with a community partner to pay the bill, a case manager recommended the couple request an energy audit from their utility provider due to their unusually high electricity usage. A Nolin service agent came to their house and discovered that the furnace and air conditioner were running simultaneously. The agent was able to correct this problem and the couple no longer has to seek assistance to pay their utility bills.

Community Collaboration for Children used United Way funding to help newly single mom fix her car so that she could attend job interviews and eventually obtain and maintain employment. With transportation she was not only able to go to her job but also to the grocery and able to pay bills. She had more independence and was able to better meet the needs of her children. She could now easily take the children to doctor visits if needed or attend school functions and meetings. The children were also able to join a few extracurricular activities now that they could be picked up from those activities.

A woman timidly approached the greeter at Grayson County Alliance’s Food Pantry inquiring if she could get some help. The young lady and her husband were in their early thirties, had two children in the home and a step daughter that visited regularly.  The husband had just gotten his first job but they still couldn’t make ends meet. She was afraid the car would be repossessed and limit visits with the step daughter. She stated there just wasn’t enough money for food. She hung her head and cried. She suddenly declared she was depressed and couldn’t take it anymore.  The advisor patiently listened and reassured her that she was at the right place for help. Together they completed the paper work to receive food support that night and she was referred her to several local agencies with programs that could further assist the family. The young lady cried even harder and expressed her thankfulness. Since that first visit this mom has returned and been in much better mental health. She is currently seeking a job and has hope. She sought advice on completing a resume and was connected to the Leitchfield Campus of ECTC for a job/career night. This family will require a ongoing support but they are taking the beginning steps to becoming self-sufficient.

"As a teen mother at Central Hardin High School, I was served by the Teens as Parents program funded through United Way. I am usually very private about my personal life, including my child. I was embarrassed to talk about my experience as a parent because I was very young, but the program has helped me share my real-life experiences.” - Letter from Teen Mother

A lot of teen parents aren’t aware of the help they can receive by being part of this program. It changed my outlook and provided me with great advice and parenting strategies. There have been challenging times where I just wanted to give up. My child would act up in school and I wouldn’t know how to handle it. I became very frustrated at times and felt lost. Going to Teens as Parents meetings gave me an outlet to get positive feedback on how to better handle things. It has taught me to deal with discipline and helped both my child and me in numerous ways.

There have also been many times I hear teenage girls say they want a child because they’re so cute or they need someone to love them. This program helped me become a great advocate when I hear those who talk about having babies before marriage. I can share my experience and offer advice, letting them know how difficult it is being a teen mom.  The Teens as Parents program was very beneficial to me and I know it is so important to other mothers in similar situations."