United Way of Story County (UWSC) focuses on three key areas when allocating funding to programs within Story County – education, income and health.

Twenty-five percent of the funding from UWSC’s LIVE UNITED campaign is allocated back into the community in the area of health. The selected programs for funding address many facets of health, allowing for a comprehensive approach to healthy lives in Story County.

One area of health that UWSC funding supports is for people with special needs. The Arc of Story County’s iCan Bike Camp is a nationwide five-day summer camp that teaches people with special needs how to ride a standard, two-wheel bicycle. This program addresses the area of physical health, specifically in individuals with disabilities. The rider is encouraged to bring a standard “family bicycle” from home to transition into by the end of the week. This helps the rider be more comfortable with practicing riding once the camp has ended. Learning to ride a bike helps the rider gain confidence and independence and be less dependent on others for transportation purposes. The camp allows parents and guardians to see their child learn and succeed at the right of passage that is riding a bicycle. This year, UWSC was able to provide $4,000 in grant funding towards this program.

Another important aspect of a comprehensive approach to a healthy life is ensuring the health of senior citizens. Heartland Senior Services of Story County received funding from UWSC for Adult Day Center chairs. Adult Day Center is a medically managed facility for seniors, age 60 and above, who are not able to stay home alone during the day. This program gives families peace of mind, knowing their loved ones are in a safe, interactive environment while they work. The program also provides care for individuals with dementia. UWSC allocated $ 3,278 toward the purchase of chairs to accommodate the growing number of attendees in the program.

A third facet of health addressed through program funding is mental health. Central Iowa’s NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) on Campus Project is dedicated to raising mental health awareness on the Iowa State University (ISU) campus. The Campus Project promotes NAMI and other community services and supports, and advocates for individuals and families impacted by mental health issues. This group serves as support system for ISU students who live with a mental illness. UWSC was able to allocate $3,187 toward this program to assist in its start up.

Health is an essential component for a good quality of life. With the support of the community, UWSC is helping to ensure that programs like these are possible.

UWSC is a strategic leader in building countywide partnerships to identify needs and to develop, support and evaluate effective human services, especially in the areas of education, income and health for our diverse community.