United Way reaches 52 percent of funding goal

LEWISTOWN – The United Way of Mifflin-Juniata has reached 52 percent, or $312,000 of its goal of $600,000 during the campaign that began on Sept. 18 and runs until March 15, 2014.

Mifflin-Juniata Special Needs Center is one of the agencies that benefits from working with the United Way. Roxie Garrett, resource coordinator at United Way of Mifflin-Juniata, discusses how partnering with the United Way has served the MJ Special Needs Center:

“For more than 60 years, the Mifflin-Juniata Special Needs Center has advocated for a community that accepts, supports and empowers individuals with disabilities, with full inclusion promoted in all aspects of life. The United Way of Mifflin-Juniata partners with MJSNC to make that vision a reality.

“The United Way works alongside MJSNC to provide Community Connections, a program that enhances the lives of participants through communication and integration with others. This program includes activities like teen club, Challenger Little League, bowling and adult recreation. Community Connections reached 272 individuals this year, encompassing all ages for a lifetime of care.

“For Denise Smith, these programs have made all the difference. Denise’s 10-year-old daughter Leanna, diagnosed with low-level autism, is involved in summer rec, T-ball and the after school program. Although admittedly nervous about Leanna playing T-ball, Smith gave it a chance after discussing it with program staff.

“‘I was wrong to be nervous. She did wonderful and absolutely loved it,’ Smith said. ‘(The Special Needs Center) goes above and beyondthey’re like family.’

“That sentiment is mutual, said Executive Director Beth Zong as she discusses her work at MJSNC, stating, ‘They trust us. That’s the epitome of success.’

“To be a part of that success, join the United Way and Special Needs Center in an effort to create a community that can accept, support and empower those who need it most.”