woman helping older couple

Often times, the systems that are in place to help those in need are difficult to access. United Way of Charlotte County has seen tremendous results from navigation programs and looks forward to funding additional programs that offer communication and navigation for at-risk residents.

Additionally, as UWCC's mission is to mobilize the power of our community to break the cycle of poverty, increased volunteer mobilization is crucial to driving true change in Charlotte County.

  • prioritizing time, talent, and treasure for communication, navigation, and volunteer efforts

Kids Thrive

Angie Matthiessen presenting check for Diane Ramsayer

Kids Thrive promotes early literacy for young children and helps families navigate resources and develop healthy peer-support. The goal is for children to be ready to succeed in school.

This program addresses school readiness and family engagement through a unique program of Navigator-Advocate and peer support for early literacy development. It acknowledges the importance of early learning and the critical factor of families understanding the importance of their role in their child's learning, along with effective ways to be their child's first teacher and supporting healthy development.

The Navigator-Advocate spent much of her time after Hurricane Ian helping families access services and resources (navigation) and maintain healthy supportive relationships to get through the trauma. She continues to spend a portion of her time on these issues, and does not anticipate this changing in the near future.

Angie Matthiessen presenting check to Senior Friendship Centers

Friendship-At-Home (FAH) is a crisis/supportive intervention, advocacy and navigation & connection program that serves frail clients in a crisis and/or relieves isolation and loneliness.

Friendship at Home uses volunteers and community business/agency collaborations to meet the needs of seniors. The program, active in other counties, strives to fill in the gaps where other services fall short. This includes crisis/supportive intervention, such as assisting a client with completing a Season of Sharing application for financial assistance. This program also serves to reduce isolation and loneliness within the senior population by matching volunteers with clients to have scheduled phone calls (Telephone Reassurance) or homevisits (Friendly Visitors).

Imagination Library

Angie Matthiessen presenting check to Chris Zimmer

Charlotte County Imagination Library is the local affiliate of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program that mails a free book monthly to children ages birth to 5.

This program will be expanding registration outreach through doctor's offices, daycare facilities, and other community locations to increase the number of families impacted. Additionally, a revamped website will provide families with information on other relevant local resources, as a means of increased navigation.

Charlotte County Imagination Library has demonstrated that the children who participate in the program are better prepared to enter kindergarten than their peers. In its 12 years of operation, CCIL has demonstrated capacity by delivering more than 65,500 free books to Charlotte County children ages birth to 5. By adding additional navigation support for families, these children will be better able to achieve success in life!

Angie Matthiessen presenting checks to BGC and YMCA

The YMCA's and the Boys & Girls Clubs' Volunteer Coordinators will manage volunteer navigation and data collection for the Charlotte County Reads initiative and support Charlotte County's vision of 75% of students reading on grade level.

Additionally, the Boys & Girls Clubs' program will recruit and manage volunteers to support operation of Lizzy the Literacy Bus to various locations across Charlotte County.

Between COVID-19 and Hurricane Ian learning has been disrupted for Charlotte County students over the last 3+ years. Our children have fallen further behind in reading, social skill development, and overall learning. Providing navigation for volunteer mentors and reading buddies will allow students to get back on track on their path to educational success.