Sundance Vacations Supports Poverty to Possibility

The Sundance Vacations Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, office employees are changing the future of some children in the Wyoming Valley of PA, with the United Way of Wyoming Valley, Poverty to Possibility kick-off.

Sundance Vacations was a proud sponsor of the United Way of Wyoming Valley’s 2016 Campaign Kick-Off Reception to raise funds for the organization’s Poverty to Possibility program.

The event was held on Thursday, September 8 in the Mohegan Sun Pocono’s Keystone Ballroom and featured guest speakers, hors d’ourvres and cocktails.

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Pictured (from left to right): Sonia Manzano from Sesame Street stands with Sundance Vacations Co-Founder, Tina Dowd.

The keynote speaker was Sonia Manzano — former Sesame Street character “Maria” — who has shaped the lives of children over her 44 years of airtime on the educational television program. She was also one of the first Hispanic characters on national television and became an idol for many child viewers.

Manzano, herself, was a victim of abuse and poverty. Growing up in the South Bronx area of New York City, she had to overcome many struggles and shared her experiences at the United Way’s reception. The TV star compared growing up in a poor neighborhood in New York City to the difficulties children face today in the Wyoming Valley.

The Sesame Street actress shared her book “Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx” and emphasized that her past experiences have taught her that education is the key to helping children succeed.

Sundance Vacations was a key sponsor for the event, donating $5,000 to help “move the needle” on reducing childhood poverty in the Wyoming Valley.

The United Way’s Poverty to Possibility program focuses on three core areas: education, income and health. According to their website, events like this one allow them to further opportunities for families to achieve higher self-sufficiency.

Candy Bednar, Sundance Vacations Vice President of Business Development, said that attending the event gave her a greater understanding of the childhood poverty problem in her area and provided her with ways to help.

“I knew it was a problem, but I didn’t realize there were over 11,000 children below the age of 18 who are living below the poverty line here,” Bednar said. “It’s empowering knowing that we are helping so many children with our donation.”

Sundance Vacations Co-Founders John and Tina Dowd attended the event as well and were glad to lend a hand.

“The children really are our future,” Tina Dowd said.  “Our local United Way goes above and beyond to help our youth.”

To learn more about the United Way of Wyoming Valley and their programs for children, check out their page on our Charities site.

View all charities Sundance Vacations Wilkes-Barre worked with here: Wilkes-Barre News, and make sure to keep up with all Events Sundance Vacations support!

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Jennifer writes for Sundance Vacations’ Charities, Blog and News site. As our Digital Marketing Coordinator, she is the mastermind behind our YouTube videos and generates online content for our travel company.