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United Way Kicks Off Campaign with Community-wide Reading Event

United Way of Southeastern Connecticut kicked off the 2013 Campaign at the United Way office in Gales Ferry with a community event. United Way volunteers and donors gathered in the morning for the event and to participate in a photo featuring individuals spelling out the words: LIVE UNITED. A bucket truck from CL&P lifted high atop the trees to capture the photo from above. Click here to view a photo gallery of the kickoff and reading events.

Brian Orenstein, CEO of Charter Oak Federal Credit Union and a volunteer serving on the United Way Campaign Cabinet, addressed the crowd noting, “Today is not only a time when we ask ourselves and each other to give. It’s a time to reflect upon our lives and our community.United Way Campaign Kickoff

“We are a community of people that take care of each other and strengthen each other,” Mr. Orenstein continued. “That’s what advancing the common good is all about…I hope you will accept my invitation to support United Way and the community of people you see around you.”

Last year, United Way-funded programs provided 115,568 service encounters in the areas of thriving children, basic needs, community wellness, and independence because these are the building blocks to a good quality of life. Contributions to United Way of Southeastern Connecticut support 71 local programs and initiatives that work together to advance the common good for all, including the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center which helps to feed more than 20,000 people every month.

In 2012, the United Way Campaign raised more than $5.7 million including 250 new donors as the organization continues to stress participation in the campaign. Donations to United Way are carefully and wisely invested by trained and knowledgeable volunteers in local health and human service programs.

Following the event, volunteers participated in Day of Caring projects at elementary schools in Norwich, Ledyard, Groton, and New London. Volunteer readers visited more than 50 classrooms and read to 1,230 children. Helping children to thrive is one of United Way’s key focus areas and therefore, the organization chose to support education and local schools on Day of Caring.

All volunteers read the book Otis by Loren Long to children, leaving a free copy of the book behind for each classroom, courtesy of United Way. Otis takes place on a farm and has positive messages about true friendship and perseverance. After the reading, children were asked to draw images about what friendship means to them.

The book Otis is part of this year’s “Read for the Record,” a national reading celebration that highlights the need for high-quality education in America and mobilizes children and adults to set a record for the largest shared reading experience. Last year, more than 2.3 million people participated in the campaign.