Eau Claire (WQOW) - Hundreds of you help support the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley. But where exactly does your contribution go? It used to be that organizations could apply for funding, the United Way picked recipients and the money was handed out.
Now, the United Way is taking a more detailed approach to see if it can get at the root many problems families face and find a way to help them function more independently. Over the next few months, WQOW News 18 will be taking a look at some specific area resources the United Way supports through your donations.
Two years, that's how long it's been since Hannah Hrdlicka graduated high school. She says, "I barely slid by." Shortly after that, she was diagnosed with dyslexia.
Hannah says, "I was always very scared when the teachers would call on me for reading or playing that game popcorn, you get called on and I would cry, even in high school. I just thought I was stupid."
Hannah says when she sees letters and numbers they're all jumbled together. "When I read the exit sign, it looks like text," she explains.
If she ever wanted to go to college, Hannah knew she'd need help. She says, "I used to read at a 4th grade level, now I read at a 9, 10th grade level."
That improvement comes after receiving one-on-one tutoring through Literacy Volunteers.
Hannah says, "My tutor is Linda and she has done everything, she checks up on me. She's like my second mom. She really strives for me to do the best I can and she doesn't make me feel dumb when I don't understand something."
Literacy Volunteers tutor, Linda Aaseng, says, "Well I'm a retired teacher, so I was looking for some way to make a difference in the Eau Claire community and a friend of mine from another group had suggested, I think you'd like Literacy Volunteers."
Hannah says, "We basically sit down just reading little paragraphs at a time and that used to take me forever to read just a little paragraph. Now I can just zoom on by. It doesn't take me long at all."
Today, Hannah is a CNA at Dove Healthcare West in Eau Claire and has applied to CVTC with plans to earn her LPN and eventually her nursing degree. "For reading care plans at work and I can actually pronounce what they have, or the disease that they have I can read that better," explains Hannah.
Linda says, "Those are goals she has that by coming here, she might be able to achieve."
With no cost to students, Literacy Volunteers relies on funding providers like the United Way.
Jan Porath, the Executive Director of the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valleys, says, "From a community-wide perspective it really helps people become better citizens, gain their citizenship and advance their careers."
Linda says, "Well if they can hold jobs themselves and pay for their own needs and not have to have the government or city government helping to provide, I think that helps all of us."
The United Way is now focusing on three key areas as they work to help those in our community: health, income and education.
In just a few short weeks Literacy Volunteers will hold its annual Scrabble Bee fundraiser. To learn more about the event, click here.