INITIATIVES, DIRECT SERVICES AND COLLABORATIONS

United Way of Greater Stark County is a catalyst for proactive and lasting change at the root causes of challenges facing Greater Stark County. As a convener, partner, advocate and issue educator partnering with government, education institutions, foundations, key funders and community leaders on countywide agendas, UWGSC works to address the urgent needs facing our community.

DIRECT SERVICES AND INITIATIVES

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) helps low-to-moderate income taxpayers meet basic needs and build financial assets as they continue to achieve long-term financial independence. Trained volunteers help individuals file taxes looking for all possible credits. This past season, 4166 State & Federal returns were prepared. This saved the tax payers $368,725 and brought back a total of $3,031,624 into the community with refunds! $1,228,025 of those dollars were from EITC and the Additional Child Tax credits.

2-1-1 is a free, confidential information and referral help line available anytime, day or night, by phone, chat or website at www.uwstark.org. United Way’s 2-1-1 connects families and individuals in need to current resources in Greater Stark County.

MyBudgetCoach® is a proven budget coaching program that matches participants with a professional for 12 months of financial coaching - at no cost. It gives individuals the tools to take control of their financial life, establishing good budgeting skills and financial habits.

The Get Connected program gives high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to visit a workplace, learn about careers in their field of interest and build relationships with employees in the organization. An optional mentoring component includes follow-up visits and communication between students and the professionals they met with during the event.

Through a professional services agreement with the Stark Tuscarawas Workforce Developmental Board for the Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program, component of the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), UWGSC provides direct services to low-income youth, ages 16-24, who face barriers to employment. In 2015, 7,999 youth received services, 1,645 were placed in jobs or education and 1,703 completed certifications or degrees. The WIA Youth Workforce Development Financial Literacy Program increases opportunities for low-income youth to gain knowledge and skills surrounding personal finance and decision making. Understanding personal finance is the key towards a stronger financial future, as employment is secured and careers are created. This program is offered to youth who are deficient in basic literacy skills, homeless, school drop-outs, ex-offenders, runaways, foster children, pregnant or parenting, or need help as an English language learner.

Teen Court is an adult-led, teen-driven program in which teen volunteers recommend sentences and act as jurors, bailiffs, defense attorneys and prosecutors with an adult serving as judge. Teen Court is an alternative to traditional juvenile court proceedings for first-time nonviolent offenders. This program is based on the premise that young people respond positively to the influences of their peers. Teen Court is funded through a grant from the United Way of Greater Stark County. UWGSC continues to support and fund Teen Court in recognition of its effectiveness, low recidivism for defendants and on-going benefit for student volunteers. As an alternative to adult-to-youth programs, youth-to youth systems have been successfully utilized across the country to hold youth accountable and educate them on the impact their actions have on others and themselves. Whether participating as the prosecutor, defense attorney, bailiff or jury member, Teen Court offers students the opportunity to positively impact their peers. Addressing juvenile crime gives court members a “sense of stake” in the community and empowers them to make their communities safer and to hold offenders accountable.

Juveniles are referred to Teen Court by the Court’s Intake Department upon a complaint of delinquency or unruly behavior. The defendant must be under the age of 18; have the parents/ guardians consent; and admit involvement with the charge.Once a youth is referred, the Teen Court Coordinator contacts the defendant and the parents to explain the program. They must voluntarily agree to participate in the program. Each defendant appears in court with his/her parents and admits involvement with the charge. The Bailiff introduces the defendant to the jurors and informs the jury of the charge. After the prosecutor and the defense attorney each present their cases, the juvenile and parents are given an opportunity to speak. The jury then deliberates and recommends a sentence. The sentence is read and the juvenile and parents are given a copy of the recommendations. The juvenile then has a specific time frame within which to complete the sentence. Failure to complete the sentence results in the case being set before a Judge or Magistrate

The Teen Court program has been in operation since 1996. Over 2,500 cases of juveniles charged with delinquency and or unruly offenses have been decided through this program. In addition, over 2,000 high school students have volunteered for this effective diversion program. The recidivism rate for those completing this program remains low. The parents of the juveniles charged are asked to rate their level of satisfaction with the program. In almost every case, parents said the program had a positive impact on their child and they would recommend this program to other families coming before the Juvenile Court.

Through an initiative between UWGSC, the BMV and the Health Departments, the ID Program provides birth certificates and photo IDs to homeless individuals & families living in a Continuum of Care shelter and those seeking and receiving addiction treatment. MORE ABOUT ID PROGRAM

 

COLLABORATIONS IN THE COMMUNITY

The partnership between the Stark-Tuscarawas Workforce Development Board and United Way of Greater Stark County provides an array of financial literacy services to customers within the OhioMeansJobs center. The United Way of Greater Stark County’s Financial Prosperity Center at OhioMeansJobs was developed to help local residents become financially stable by focusing on three primary areas: employment counseling and placement, financial education and coaching, and public benefits access. United Way of Greater Stark County envisions a community where a cycle for financial stability exists, allowing individuals and families access to build long-term, economic independence.

United Way of Greater Stark County partners with Live Well Stark County, Creating Healthy Communities and the Stark County Park District through Stark Walks urban walking routes. Combining resources increased the number of routes available to the public throughout the county. Urban pathways - or green streets - are a free, easy way for residents to participate in physical activity. These pathways encourage people to explore their community, exercise and have healthier lives.

The C.A.R.E. Team Initiative is a collaborative between Stark County Family Court, Stark County Job & Family Services, Stark Education Partnership, Stark County Family Council, Stark County Educational Service Center, Stark County Mental Health &Addiction Recovery, Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities and United Way of Greater Stark County. The team is comprised of teachers, administrators and staff from multiple community agencies, including law enforcement, mental health, and other social services. The team works together in a school-based environment to address challenges facing the at-risk student population. School performance is affected by many issues, among them physical health, substance abuse, physical abuse, housing, nutrition, and poverty. The non-academic barriers facing students and their families are identified and the team serves as a liaison between students and community resources. The best way to affect change is through on-site collaboration between human service organizations that address these issues. This helps break down the barriers that interfere with student progression and students begin to successfully learn in school, increasing their potential through education. CARE Team’s goal is to address the quality of life of children in Stark County, Ohio, by addressing the tough issues of physical health and well-being, substance abuse, physical abuse and poverty. The program’s main goal is to help at-risk children stay in school and become self-sufficient and productive in the work force. The program is school/community-focused, holistic, year-round, and consequence-based. The program provides prevention, intervention and asset building tailored to the needs of the individual. The team identifies the gaps in the student’s basic needs development and addresses those needs areas so that the child will be able to achieve the higher levels of the needs pyramid. The team also identifies strengths and assets that will promote growth and improvement. The program provides students and families with prevention, intervention, and asset building support tailored to the needs of each individual child. These services, offered within the school setting, are easily accessible for the families and are part of the student’s daily routine.

  • ALLIANCE CITY SCHOOLS: Alliance Middle School
  • CANTON CITY SCHOOLS: All schools in the Canton City District
  • CANTON LOCAL SCHOOLS: Faircrest Middle School, Canton South High School
  • FAIRLESS LOCAL SCHOOLS: Fairless Middle School, Fairless High School
  • LOUISVILLE CITY SCHOOLS: Louisville Middle School
  • MARLINGTON LOCAL SCHOOLS: Lexington Elementary School, Marlboro Elementary School, Marlington Middle School
  • MASSILLON CITY SCHOOLS: Franklin Elementary School, Massillon Middle School
  • OSNABURG LOCAL: East Canton Elementary, East Canton Middle School, East Canton High School
  • PERRY LOCAL SCHOOLS: Genoa Elementary
  • PLAIN LOCAL SCHOOLS: Avondale Elementary, Barr Elementary, Frazer Elementary, Taft Elementary, Warstler Elementary, Glenwood Middle School
  • SANDY VALLEY LOCAL: Sandy Valley Elementary, Sandy Valley Middle School

Browse the Care Team website » for more information.

The Emergency Assistance Collaborative provides streamlined and client centered emergency assistance services to Greater Stark County residents who are at risk of a crisis and seeking temporary assistance for rent or utilities. The collaborative consists of 6 community partners who service the Greater Stark County area: United Way of Greater Stark County, The Salvation Army (Massillon, Alliance and Canton), Catholic Charities Serving Portage and Stark Counties and CommQuest Services, Inc.