Chatham Volunteer Recognized by Governor’s Office

Pamela Caruso is presented with the 2018 NC Medallion award by First Lady Kristin Cooper. This is the tenth year that the Governor’s Office has presented this award. Caruso is the third Chatham County resident to ever receive this award.

Pamela Caruso, a Chatham County Council on Aging volunteer was awarded the 2018 Medallion Award by the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.  She was one of the honorees at the award ceremony held on May 7, at the State Capitol in Raleigh.   Caruso was recognized for her outstanding volunteer service in Chatham County.

Caruso has volunteered with the Chatham County Council on Aging for the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) for more than eight years.  She has also volunteered for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) for over ten years.  She has dedicated over 200 hours to these programs, assisting low-income families and seniors.

Eight Commissioners for the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service attended the award ceremony in Raleigh.  First Lady Kristin Cooper, wife of Governor Roy Cooper, presented the awards. This is the tenth year the Governor’s Office has awarded this accommodation, which recognizes the “best of the best.”

Caruso was nominated as Chatham County’s recipient for the NC Outstanding Volunteer Medallion.  Each county can submit one volunteer for this special honor.  There are 100 counties in North Carolina, but the NC Commission on Volunteerism & Community Service only selects 20 honorees.  This year, Caruso was among them.  Only three Chatham residents have ever received this honor.

“Volunteerism is an important part of the proud history of community service in Chatham County,” said Dina Reynolds, Executive Director of United Way of Chatham County.  “It is our honor to recognize our neighbors who truly make a difference in the lives of others.”

Chatham County Volunteer Center Coordinator Alane Coore, 2018 NC Medallion Award Recipient Pamela Caruso, Chatham County Council on Aging Volunteer Coordinator Rhonda Hampton, and Chatham County Council on Aging Community Care Manager Susan Hardy celebrate volunteerism at the 2018 Medallion Award Ceremony at the State Capitol in Raleigh.

Since 1998, United Way has coordinated the Chatham County Outstanding Volunteer Awards to recognize individuals who selflessly give their time, talent and expertise to benefit the residents our community.  Chatham County community members make up the local Volunteer Nomination Review Committee that reviews the nomination forms, selects the honorees and plans local recognition activities.  The committee also selects Chatham County’s nominees to be considered for recognition on the state level.  The United Way of Chatham County Volunteer Center coordinates this effort with the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.

For more information about volunteering in Chatham County, please contact Alane Coore, United Way Volunteer Center Coordinator at 542-1110 or visit the United Way of Chatham County website at www.unitedwayofchathamcounty.org.

Posted in Communities, Events, Organization

United Way of Chatham County Honors Local Volunteers

Some of Chatham’s most dedicated volunteers were recognized for their contributions to their community. From left to right, Hilary Murray of CORA Food Pantry, Pamela Caruso of Chatham County Council on Aging, Sheriff Mike Roberson, Ruth and Dick Flannelly of Galloway Ridge, Chatham County Commissioner Chair Diana Hales, Larry Ross of Chatham County Council on Aging, United Way Volunteer Center Coordinator Alane Coore, John and Kay Combest of Galloway Ridge, Edith Hammond of Galloway Ridge and Mary Dickerson of Chatham County 4-H Club.

The United Way of Chatham County recognized several local volunteers on Thursday, May 3 for their outstanding volunteer work in the community.  Held at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center, the event hosted almost 100 people.  Sheriff Mike Roberson served as the event’s Master of Ceremonies.

Sheriff Roberson noted that Chatham residents donated 81,265 hours of volunteer service to United Way and its member agencies last year.  According to the Independent Sector, the most current hourly value of volunteer time is $24.14 per hour.  This means that local volunteers donated work hours valued at more than 1.9 million dollars.

The keynote speaker was United Way Board member and former Chatham County Commissioner Betty Wilson.  She spoke about the value of volunteerism and invited attendees to think about the powerful outcomes of making a difference, no matter how small, in someone’s life.

Chatham County Commissioner Chair Diana Hales presented the awards.  Each honoree received a framed certificate signed by all of the County Commissioners.  They also received a certificate of state recognition, which was signed by Governor Cooper.

Pamela Caruso, a volunteer of Council on Aging, received the first award.  Caruso has volunteered with the Chatham County Council on Aging for the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) for more than eight years.  She has also volunteered for the Volunteer Income Assistance Program (VITA) for over ten years.  She has dedicated over 200 hours to these programs, assisting low-income families and seniors.

“Pam is the kind of volunteer that accepts assignments that other volunteers may turn down because of the time and distance required.  She presents herself in a very professional manner and has a loving and sincere demeanor while interacting with seniors and adults with disabilities.  Pam is a truly remarkable individual who views volunteerism as a calling,” said Hales.

Kay and John Combest, volunteers of the Galloway Ridge Retirement Community, received the next award.  Kay Combest’s most active volunteer role is the Residents Welcoming Coordinator.  She works with Galloway Ridge staff to identify new residents moving into the community and coordinates the delivery of welcome baskets.  She also is the assistant manager of the Turnaround Resale Shop, where she volunteers 18 hours a month.  John Combest was a member of the first Residents Council, which was charged with drafting and writing bylaws and procedures.  He also started the original Volunteer Service Committee at Galloway Ridge to promote volunteerism among the residents.  “John is the type of person who goes quietly about his volunteering out of the goodness of his heart.  He will step forward and offer help wherever it is needed,” Hales said.

Mary Dickerson was honored for her work at Chatham County 4-H.  Dickerson has been a 4-H volunteer for ten years.  For the past year, she has served as the club leader of the Chatham County Horse-kateers.  Within that club, Mary has taught numerous youth invaluable leadership and citizenship skills in conjunction with equine-based curriculum focusing on animal husbandry and care.  When parents are unable to assist youth in the horse shows, Mary transports them, and oftentimes their horses, to competitions around the state.

“Mary is much more than a club leader to the children.  She is a valued mentor and has many times been referred to as their ‘4-H Mom.’  Mary has been a solid fixture in the lives of many club members and has been able to provide them with emotional support, a warm meal and even a place to stay when families have needed it most,” said Hales.

The next award went to Ruth and Dick Flannelly who are residents of Galloway Ridge.  Ruth is an excellent pianist and accompanies the Galloway Ridge Chorus at their weekly practices and semi-annual concerts.  She selects the music for all chorus events and dedicates several hours each week to practicing with them.

The Flannelly’s travel extensively and record their travels together.  On a weekly basis, Dick shares his travel experiences and videos with the residents in the health center.  He also puts copies of each video in the library for others to enjoy.

“One of the most appreciated gifts that Ruth and Dick offer is that they are always there to help. This remarkable couple truly epitomize the spirit of community,” Hales said.

Edith and Joe Hammond were also recognized for their selfless dedication to their community. As residents of Galloway Ridge, Edith and Joe have been actively engaged in a multitude of volunteer projects there. Edith is highly involved in the work of the Residents Council. She is also the prime organizer of the “Neighbor Helping Neighbor” program, which assists residents with various needs.  Many services are provided through this program; from transporting residents to doctor’s appointments to reading to those with limited sight.

Joe Hammond has led two popular groups at Galloway Ridge: a Men’s Non-Fiction Book Club that has more than 30 members, and a “Contemporary Religious Thought” discussion group that has more than 60 members.  Joe also volunteers with the Galloway Ridge Woodworkers Group. The woodworkers accomplish an amazing number of repair jobs for residents and staff.

“The selflessness of Joe and Edith make them ideal role models. They are civic-minded and passionately caring people,” said Hales.

The next award was presented to Hilary Murray for serving as the Volunteer Coordinator at CORA Food Pantry for ten years. Over the last decade, the number of work hours contributed by volunteers has increased from 1,500 hours per year to more than 6,500 per year.  During this time, Hilary has been instrumental in recruiting, training and recognizing volunteers.  In the last five years alone, she has trained almost 250 new volunteers through monthly orientation sessions.

“Hilary’s manner is friendly, open and soothing. She makes a lasting, positive first-impression on all who meet her. CORA wouldn’t have been able to accomplish as much as it has in the last ten years without her,” Hales said.

Last but not least, Larry Ross was recognized for his volunteer efforts at the Chatham County Council on Aging, where he has been a member of the Board of Directors since September 2014. Currently serving as Board President, Larry is an innovative leader and dedicated to the agency’s mission. Since he became involved with the Strategic Planning Team, he has worked to help the organization become more data-driven.  One example of this is his contribution in securing the support of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health for a Capstone Team of graduate students to develop the Chatham County Comprehensive Aging Plan.

“Larry brings his intellect, patience, ethics and enthusiasm to all that he does. Most importantly, he makes sure that Council on Aging decisions are made with the best interests of Chatham seniors in mind,” said Hales.

Sheriff Roberson provided closing remarks and encouraged agencies, churches and schools to submit their most active volunteers for recognition in the upcoming years.

Posted in Communities, Events

United Way Introduces New Chatham 2-1-1 System to County Employees

United Way was honored to attended the Chatham County Employee Benefits Fair on Tuesday, May 1. The annual event provides county employees the opportunity to meet with benefits providers.

United Way shared information regarding supported human service programs. Staff also presented county employees with the positive impact made through their United Way donations.

United Way also introduced Chatham’s new 2-1-1 information and referral resource. Trained specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year by simply dialing 2-1-1. They search a comprehensive database of health and human services resources to help individuals find a local nonprofit to meet their needs.

In addition, the 2-1-1 database is available online at nc211.org for those who may prefer to conduct their own search. The new Chatham 2-1-1 service is a collaborative effort of United Way and the Chatham County Health Department.

United Way Fundraising and Administrative Assistant Katie Childs greeted county employees.

Chatham County Director of Human Resources Carolyn Miller hosted a fun, yet informative, event for county employees.

Posted in Organization

Volunteers Needed for Free Over-The-Counter Medication Event in Chatham

Chatham County is helping MedAssist host a Free Pharmacy Day on Friday June 1, 2018 at the Armory in Siler City. The event provides free non-prescription medications to people who may have trouble paying on their own.  This can include things like medications for allergies, digestive issues, arthritis, and dry eyes.

30 volunteers are needed to help with set up on Thursday, May 31 from 1-4 pm, and 150 volunteers are needed to help on the day of the event, which is Friday, June 1.

Those interested in volunteering should sign up online at www.medassist.org/volunteer.

If your agency is interested in providing health screenings at the event please email Misty Moore at mmoore@medassist.org.

Posted in Agencies, Communities, Events

Chatham’s First Annual Senior Education Retreat

United Way was proud to attend the first annual Senior Education Retreat, hosted by the Chatham County Council on Aging. The event was held at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center on Wednesday, April 18. The retreat featured Keynote Speaker Dr. Nortin Hadler, Emeritus Professor of Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and included 17 information sessions covering topics from healthy cooking for one, to pain management. 

Posted in Communities, Events, Organization

Local Volunteers To Be Recognized by County & State

Ten Chatham County volunteers have been selected to receive recognition for their outstanding community service:  Pamela Caruso, Kay & John Combest, Mary Dickerson, Ruth & Dick Flannelly, Edith & Joe Hammond, Hilary Murray and Larry Ross.  They were also selected to receive the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award certificate from the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.

The United Way of Chatham County will recognize these local volunteers for their exceptional dedication and community service at the 2018 Chatham County Outstanding Volunteer Awards ceremony.  The awards reception will be held on Thursday, May 3 from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center in Pittsboro.  Refreshments will be served.  The event is free of charge and everyone is invited.  Community members are asked to RSVP by calling the United Way office at (919) 542-1110.

Diana Hales, Chair of the Chatham County Commissioners, will present the volunteer awards.  Former Chatham County Commissioner Betty Wilson is the keynote speaker and will talk about the value of volunteerism.  Sheriff Mike Roberson will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.  “Everyone is invited to join us in celebration of the amazing spirit and generosity of our Chatham County volunteers,” said Alane Coore, United Way Volunteer Center Coordinator.

Chatham residents donated 81,265 hours of volunteer service to United Way and its member agencies last year.  According to the Independent Sector, the most current hourly value of volunteer time is $24.14 per hour.  This means that local volunteers donated work hours valued at more than 1.2 million dollars.  “This community activism saves Chatham’s human service nonprofits in salaries and allows them to provide a level of service they could not otherwise afford,” commented United Way Board Treasurer Jim Sink.

“Volunteerism is an important part of the proud history of community service in Chatham County,” said Dina Reynolds, Executive Director of United Way of Chatham County.  “It is our honor to recognize our neighbors who truly make a difference in the lives of others.”

Since 1998, United Way has coordinated the Chatham County Outstanding Volunteer Awards to recognize individuals who selflessly give their time, talent and expertise to benefit the residents of our community.  Chatham County community members make up the local Volunteer Nomination Review Committee that reviews the nomination forms, selects the honorees and plans local recognition activities.  The committee also selects Chatham County’s nominees to be considered for recognition on the state level.  The United Way of Chatham County Volunteer Center coordinates this effort with the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.

For more information about volunteering in Chatham County, please contact Alane Coore, United Way Volunteer Center Coordinator at 542-1110 or visit the United Way of Chatham County website at www.unitedwayofchathamcounty.org

Posted in Communities, Events

New Interactive Tool Helps Chatham County Families Learn How Much They Need to Make Ends Meet

Chatham County’s working families will have a better understanding of how much income they need to meet their basic needs thanks to a partnership between United Way and Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International. The “Our Money Needs Calculator” is an interactive online calculator designed to show how much it takes for families of different sizes to make ends meet. In addition to providing income data, the calculator also links users to resources that may help them improve their financial situation.

The calculator uses information entered by the family along with data from the “Self-Sufficiency Standard for North Carolina 2017” to determine the costs of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and other essentials such as clothing, as well as taxes and tax credits. After viewing the income required to meet their basic needs, families are directed to financial assistance resources. “Let’s Talk Money: A Family Guide” provides tips and tools to help families review their current financial situation and set goals for the future. The “Economic Security Pathways Report” shares information on pathways for families to build long-term financial security. Links to United Way’s NC 2-1-1, nc211.org, connects users to information about health and human services programs in their communities.

The “Our Money Needs Calculator” is available at www.unitedwaync.org/our-money-needs-calculator and you can read more about it in The News & Observer.

Posted in Events

Lend Your Voice To Community Health and Well-Being!

This February, the Chatham Health Alliance began the 2018 Community Assessment. The Community Assessment is an ongoing process that includes a survey and community conversations that help us identify the issues that most affect the health and well-being of Chatham County residents. The assessment provides a snapshot of our community’s needs, challenges, strengths opportunities, and moreover; what we can do together to make life better. United Way of Chatham County is a member of the Chatham Health Alliance, and the information gathered through the Community Assessment process will help to identify priorities that guide us as we find ways to create positive outcomes for our community.

Your voice is an important part of this process, and there are several ways to participate in the Community Assessment!

  • Take the 2018 Community Survey: The Community Survey was mailed to a random sample of households in February. If you are one of the residents who received this survey, please take the time to respond. We want to hear from you, and your response ensures that your community and your voice are included. For some of the most common questions on the survey, including selection, visit the FAQs on our website www.chathamtalks.org.
  • Share your feedback: In addition to the surveys, we will also host many focus groups and community conversations over the next several months. We’ll keep you updated on our website www.chathamtalks.org and on Facebook, but you’re always welcome to check in with us to see where we are in the process. Contact us at ChathamTalks@chathamnc.org or 919-545-8323.
  • Join our collaborative effort: The Community Assessment brings together people just like you with our county leaders, public health agencies, healthcare, community organizations, businesses and academic institutions. This process is for everyone and seeks to benefit all of us. If you are interested in becoming a partner or volunteer, please contact ChathamTalks@chathamnc.org or 919-545-8323.

We look forward to hearing from you and learning what we can do together to make Chatham County a healthy, thriving community. For any questions on the Community Assessment, contact ChathamTalks@chathamnc.org or 919-545-8323.

Posted in Communities

Chatham County Recognized as a Spotlight Award Winner in Healthiest Cities and Counties Challenge

Chatham County has been selected to receive $25,000 as part of the Healthiest Cities & Counties Challenge (the Challenge) Spotlight Award. Nationwide, ten winners and five honorable mentions were selected for their ability to address the need to improve opportunities for all Americans – regardless of income, education or ethnic background – to take an active role in healthy living.

The Challenge was launched in 2016 by the Aetna Foundation, along with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the National Association of Counties (NACo), to help empower 50 small-to-midsize cities and counties to implement innovative solutions for their local public health issues. The 15 selected organizations have tackled community-specific health disparities head-on and developed practical, evidence-based strategies to improve health conditions and promote healthy living.

Chatham County has been highlighted as a Spotlight Award winner for identifying creative partnerships and enacting sustainable and replicable programs that address the unique health issues facing the Chatham community. Specifically, the award recognizes the collaborative effort of the Chatham County Public Health Department and Planning Department, along with the Chatham Health Alliance, to promote and foster health through the recently adopted Chatham County Comprehensive Plan. The partnership resulted in the inclusion of a new Plan Goal, “To foster healthy communities,” and a comprehensive Health Element that details strategies and recommendations to improve community health through the plan. Moving forward, the Chatham Health Alliance will work with these and other partner agencies and organizations to enact the strategies recommended in the Health Element and advance its efforts to shape a healthier Chatham for all.

“Partnership is the key to building a healthier community,” said Health Director Layton Long. “Chatham County’s Comprehensive Plan lays out a collective vision for the county, one that will guide our work in the years to come. We are grateful for this recognition and the continued support from the Challenge.”

The Challenge is a $1.5 million prize competition among small and mid-sized U.S. cities, counties and federally recognized tribes that plan to address social determinants of health, such as improving access to healthy foods, physical activity and reducing violence and crime. The 50 participants were chosen based on strategies to improve the health of their communities in at least one of five domains: healthy behaviors, community safety, built environment, social/economic factors and environmental exposures.

“At the Aetna Foundation, we know that a positive health impact can be made when communities work together to tackle social determinants of health,” said Dr. Garth Graham, president of the Aetna Foundation. “We are honored to showcase these innovative organizations as Spotlight Award winners for their commitment to improving local health conditions and creating healthier, safer places.”

Posted in Communities

2018 Chatham Community Assessment Surveys May Arrive in Mailboxes

The Chatham Health Alliance, in partnership with the Chatham County Public Health Department, Chatham Hospital, and numerous community organizations, has begun its 2018 Community Assessment process. The Community Assessment, which has its roots in the Community Health Assessment conducted in 2014, yields important and timely information about the health needs and preferences of Chatham County residents. This assessment will consider an array of factors that affect health and well-being, such as traditional metrics like access to care and underlying issues, such as economic opportunity and housing.

“With the 2018 Community Assessment, Chatham County is taking a new approach to an established process,” noted Health Director Layton Long. “This comprehensive view of the county and its residents will help to inform not only our own efforts, but also those of the many partners with whom we work on a daily basis. It is these partners who make the Community Assessment possible, and the same partners who will be instrumental in creating positive change in the community based on the assessment’s findings.”

There are many ways residents can participate in the Community Assessment process.

  • SURVEY:  A survey will be mailed to randomly selected county residents in February. “If you receive the survey, we appreciate you taking the time to respond,” added Long. “We want to hear about your access to health services, your opinions and your needs.”
  • FOLLOW UP:  Beginning in March, volunteers with the Chatham Health Alliance will follow up in person with residents who received a survey and did not respond.
  • FOCUS GROUPS & COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS: In addition to the surveys, the county will convene several ocus groups and community conversations over the next several months where residents will have the opportunity to talk about the issues that are most important to their communities. Information about these conversations will be posted on the Community Assessment’s website, www.chathamtalks.org. This website will also feature questions residents can respond to online.

Later this year, staff will put together the findings from the survey, focus groups, community conversations, website responses and data from additional sources. Based on these findings, the Chatham Health Alliance will prioritize focus areas for the next three years.

If you would like to assist with this process and work to improve quality of life in Chatham County, the Chatham Health Alliance always welcomes new members.

The Chatham Health Alliance was established in March 2015 as an extension of the 2014 Community Health Assessment Steering Committee. The Alliance is a collaborative of local professionals and residents working together to improve health in Chatham County. The Alliance brings together both traditional and nontraditional partners to work on issues affecting health in Chatham County, with a focus on the health priorities identified in the Community Health Assessment: obesity, access to mental health services, and access to healthcare. To learn more about the Chatham Health Alliance, visit www.chathamhealthalliancenc.org.

Posted in Communities

Twitter Feed