The United Way of Wyoming Valley held its annual campaign kickoff Thursday, September 13 at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Plains Township. This year, the United Way enlisted Father Gregory Boyle, founder of  Homeboy Industries, a gang intervention, rehab and re-entry program; and the author of “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion” as the speaker. Father Boyle is also was the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary, “G-Dog.”

During the kick off, the Untied Way also had Brooke Rowe speak on how the United Way helped her and her family. When Brookes son was a year and a half, she started seeing things that she didn’t want to admit.

Noah wouldn’t talk or make any sounds. He also wouldn’t play with his toys, Rowe recalled, but would only organize and sort them on the floor.

When Noah was diagnosed with autism in 2015, she was a single mother and didn’t know how she would afford his specialized treatment and education.

“I was so nervous that Noah would not be able to attend Wyoming Valley Children’s Association because of my financial situation at the time” Rowe said.

Thanks to educational stipends provided by the WVCA with United Way help, Noah was able to participate in the program. Today, Noah is an active 5-year-old who communicates openly with his mom and the world.

Sundance Vacations acted as a Lead Sponsor for the event!

Sundance Vacations was proud to sponsor the United Way of Wyoming Valley’s 2018 Campaign Kick-Off Reception to help raise funds for the organization’s Poverty to Possibility program.

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

Nearly 11,535 of children under the age of 18 are living in poverty locally, with 33 percent of those under the age of 5. Additionally, the poverty rate for all children in Luzerne County has doubled since 2000. In 2013, that rate was 29-percent in the valley, but it’s currently 24-percent. Money raised throughout the campaign goes towards childhood education.

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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Robert writes for Sundance Vacations’ Charities, Blog and News site as the Digital Media Coordinator.