News

8th Avenue Strong Neighborhoods House brings critical resources to local residents

Strong Neighborhoods House

(Rockford, Ill. - 12/01/2015) – United Way of Rock River Valley, in collaboration with Rockford Police Department and ZION Development, unveiled the first of two Strong Neighborhoods houses for Ellis Heights and Midtown residents. The 8th Avenue Strong Neighborhoods House, located at 908 8th Avenue, will become a resource for residents, where local police officers will have regular office hours as a way to help facilitate problem solving and build a safer and stronger neighborhood.

"All families deserve an opportunity to live in a safe and healthy neighborhood," says Paul A. Logli, President/CEO of United Way of Rock River Valley. "The house will be a great center of activity for police to set up in the neighborhood and build positive relationships with residents. When those positive relationships start to develop then we also have a safer neighborhood."

The house is the culmination of nearly half a year of collective work by United Way, volunteer groups and key partners such as ZION, which serves as landlord of the property, and Northwestern Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council. United Way invested about $40,000 in house renovations. As a result, the 8th Avenue Strong Neighborhoods House will serve a number of functions in addition to the regular police presence. The house provides a space for community gatherings and delivery of critical human services.

"This house is intended to be a warm and welcoming place for the residents. United Way will be out in the neighborhood listening to and helping residents identify key programming that will improve their quality of life," says Logli.

Currently, United Way has secured a free tax assistance program at the house for residents through Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois and is in planning with University of Illinois Extension to bring summer youth programming.

The 8th Avenue Strong Neighborhoods House is a direct response to needs discovered through United Way's Strong Neighborhoods initiative, which is dramatically improving the quality of life for children and families in two of the region's most challenged neighborhoods. Over the past year, United Way's community impact team has visited with residents, businesses and agencies in Ellis Heights and Midtown neighborhoods to learn their aspirations and needs. Safety, healthy living, school readiness, job training, and access to critical resources were priorities identified through the community engagements.

The second Strong Neighborhoods House is scheduled to open in the Ellis Heights neighborhood in early spring 2016. For more information, please contact Linda Sandquist, vice president of United Way of Rock River Valley, at 815-968-5400 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley creates lasting change for everyone in Winnebago and Ogle counties by reducing childhood poverty and building hope for families in neighborhoods. We unite people and organizations to focus on results-driven solutions that create a community of healthy, well-educated and financially-stable individuals and families. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to make the change happen.

Celebrate generosity by giving back on #GivingTuesday

Giving Tuesday

(Rockford, Ill. - 11/23/2015) – United Way of Rock River Valley is once again joining millions around the world in #GivingTuesday (December 1) to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide during the holiday season. Similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days synonymous with holiday shopping, #GivingTuesday, held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, harnesses the power of social media to inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support. This year, United Way's #GivingTuesday Campaign will support programming for two Strong Neighborhoods Houses in the regions most challenged neighborhoods.

Since its founding in 2012, online giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving has increased more than four-fold, based on findings by Blackbaud and the Indiana University's Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, produced in partnership with the Case Foundation. Last year, local donors came together to celebrate #GivingTuesday by raising $1,000 for United Way's Strong Neighborhoods initiative, which was over a 100 percent increase from the previous year goal.

This year, United Way's goal is to raise $4,000 in support of programming for Strong Neighborhoods Houses in Ellis Heights and Midtown neighborhoods. A joint collaboration between United Way, City of Rockford Police Department and ZION Development, these houses will build positive relationships between residents and local police officers, provide necessary human services directly to the residents, and improve the overall quality of life in the neighborhood. Programming includes financial literacy and mental health resources for families and activities for youth.

To take action on #GivingTuesday, the community is encouraged to TEXT the keyword STRONG15 to 41444 or donate using this secure, mobile-friendly form. People can also take action by making a pledge to become a volunteer reader, mentor, or tutor.

Visit our #GivingTuesday event page for more details.

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley creates lasting change for everyone in Winnebago and Ogle counties by reducing childhood poverty and building hope for families in neighborhoods. We unite people and organizations to focus on results-driven solutions that create a community of healthy, well-educated and financially-stable individuals and families. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to make the change happen.

New neighborhood group cleaning up crime along Peach Court

Zion West Neighborhood Association

(Rockford, Ill. - 10/29/2015) – Zion West Neighborhood Association is hosting a cleanup project along Peach Court in the Ellis Heights neighborhood. The project serves as the association's first group activity and immediately addresses resident concerns over the blight and safety of the street. Peach Court, located between School and West Jefferson streets, has become a barrier between the Fairgrounds Valley public housing apartments and the larger neighborhood. With overgrown brush and litter, the street is a target of regular criminal activity. Zion West Neighborhood Association is part of West Gateway Coalition, which encompasses the Ellis Heights neighborhood.

United Way of Rock River Valley has been working together with West Gateway Coalition and Zion West Neighborhood Association to empower the group to become more effective and strategic in the Ellis Heights neighborhood. The partnership is a result of United Way's Strong Neighborhood initiative, which is addressing the widespread social and economic issues affecting residents in two of the regions' most underserved neighborhoods.

 

DETAILS
When: Saturday, October 31, 2015
Time: 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Where: Peach Court (between School and West Jefferson streets)

Contact: Rev. Marvin Hightower Sr. - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; 815-962-7813

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley creates lasting change for everyone in Winnebago and Ogle counties by reducing childhood poverty and building hope for families in neighborhoods. We unite people and organizations to focus on results-driven solutions that create a community of healthy, well-educated and financially-stable individuals and families. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to make the change happen.

LIVE UNITED Event at Bachrodt Auto Mall to help keep kids in school

Lou Bachrodt Auto Mall Event

(Rockford, Ill. - 11/02/2015) – Lou Bachrodt Auto Mall and First Northern Credit Union invites you to LIVE UNITED DAY on Saturday, November 7, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to help support children living in poverty. Families living in poverty cannot use SNAP to purchase personal hygiene items such as shampoo, deodorant, and soap. As a result, young children are missing school because of adequate health care products.

During the event, United Way of Rock River Valley staff and volunteers will collect donations of personal and hair care products at Lou Bachrodt Auto Mall and work together with Youth Services Network to distribute the items to Rockford-area families that need them the most. Individuals are also encouraged to learn more about becoming a volunteer through United Way's Tiny Hands, Big Hearts pre-k mentoring program and I READ mentoring program.

 

EVENT DETAILS
When: Saturday, November 7, 2015
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Where: Lou Bachrodt Auto Mall – 7070 Cherryvale N. Boulevard, Rockford (behind Cherryvale Mall)

For more information, please contact Lou Bachrodt Auto Mall at 815-332-6622.

 

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley creates lasting change for everyone in Winnebago and Ogle counties by reducing childhood poverty and building hope for families in neighborhoods. We unite people and organizations to focus on results-driven solutions that create a community of healthy, well-educated and financially-stable individuals and families. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to make the change happen.

Family support programming series at Ellis Elementary strengthens parent skills

Strong Neighborhoods Parenthood

(Rockford, Ill. - 10/22/2015) – In an effort to help families respond to issues of poverty, it is important to provide support for parents as well as for children. United Way of Rock River Valley, in collaboration with Ellis Elementary School, Rockford Public Schools District #205, and Rockford Park District, is addressing this need by providing quality parent support programming directly into the Ellis Heights neighborhood. ParentH.O.O.D (Helping Our Own Develop) program will provide a series of four events covering relevant topics in education, income and health, which will help parents build stronger networks of support and get connected to important community resources. The events will be held in conjunction with Ellis Elementary School family nights.

ParentH.O.O.D. program is a direct response to needs discovered through United Way's Strong Neighborhoods initiative, which is dramatically improve the quality of life for children and families in two of the region's most challenged neighborhoods. Parents acknowledged feeling frustrated while trying to pursue education, find employment and respond to health challenges. One of the areas of frustration for parents was the lack of true support from service providers. Although parents are dedicated caregivers, many deal with tremendous life challenges and need support. Parents participating in the program will improve their understanding of community resources, learn communication and advocacy skills, and gain a better sense of support from neighbors and organizations aimed at addressing social needs.

 

Program Content

October 22, 2015 – Mental Health
Katie Heisler, Intensive Community/School Based Counselor – Rosecrance

Explain signs and symptoms of mental health issues that children often struggle with, explain services that are available through Rosecrance, how it can help their child, and medication that is often used to treat these signs and symptoms.

 

December 10, 2015 – Substance Abuse/Self Care – How to handle stress and life challenges
Kyle Auman, Health Equity Officer – Winnebago County Health Department

Discuss alternative solutions to dealing with stress such as a list of resources in the community and how parents can get in contact with them.

 

March 17, 2016 – Communication/Education - How to be an advocate for yourself
Professor Theresa Gilbert – Rock Valley College
Dr.Will Ashford, Director of Learning Opportunity Center – Rock Valley College
Amanda Smith, Dean of Adult Education – Rock Valley College

Parents will be given a brief introduction to educational programming in our community including benefits of and how to move forward getting a G.E.D, opportunities in higher education, certificate programs, and degree programs. Parents will be invited to participate in a four-week continuation of this session of Parenth.o.o.d. education to be held at Rock Valley College.

 

April 14, 2016 – Jobs/Income - Hiring event and employment resources
Mike Williams, Executive Director – Rock River Training Corporation

Provide staff to attend the parent support sessions to present information regarding workforce training services and opportunities offered through the Workforce Connection.

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley creates lasting change for everyone in Winnebago and Ogle counties by reducing childhood poverty and building hope for families in neighborhoods. We unite people and organizations to focus on results-driven solutions that create a community of healthy, well-educated and financially-stable individuals and families. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to make the change happen.