Lakeshore Middle School Partners with United Way for Junior Day of Caring

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Greater Ottawa County United Way is partnering with Lakeshore Middle School in Grand Haven to help place more than 200 eighth-grade students in volunteer opportunities across the Tri-Cities. This event, entitled “Lakeshore’s Junior Day of Caring,” will take place February 4 from 8:30 a.m. until noon.

Students and chaperones will volunteer their time and muscle to many different organizations, including The Salvation Army, Loutit Library, Tri-Cities Family YMCA, Harbor Humane Society, local elementary schools, and many more.

Shannon Morton, United Way Director of Volunteerism, is working closely with Kristin Fowler and Stephanie Egerer, teachers at Lakeshore, to ensure students have a safe and rewarding experience volunteering. “We think a partnership with United Way is a wonderful idea,” said Fowler.

This annual event was created to enrich the minds of local youth and bring awareness to the needs of our community.  “A Junior Day of Caring is a great way to introduce students to a philanthropic lifestyle at an early age,” said Morton.

For more information about volunteering in your community, contact Morton at (616) 396-7811 in Holland or (616) 842-7130 in Grand Haven, or visit




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Click here: LIVE UNITED News Winter 2011.pdf to download a PDF version of our quarterly newsletter.


United Way in Search of Community Investment Volunteers

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In photo at left, Financial Stability Panel Members visit a transitional housing program at The People Center in Spring Lake during  the 2010 Community Investment Process.

Greater Ottawa County United Way is seeking interested community members, who live and/or work in Ottawa County, to have a voice in the funding of human service programs throughout Ottawa County. Community investment volunteers help to decide where the funds raised during the annual campaign are invested, or allocated.  They review programs organized according to the four impact areas of Education, Financial Stability, Health, and Emergency Assistance/Basic Human Needs. Volunteers need to simply have an interest in helping to better their community and may choose an impact area and panel that fit their interests and time schedule.

The “Education” impact area includes programs that help people of all ages to achieve their potential; “Financial Stability” includes programs that help people to achieve financial stability; “Health” includes programs that help people to live life in a healthy way; and “Emergency Assistance and Basic Human Needs” includes programs that provide resources to people in need of immediate assistance. Last year 64 citizens from around Ottawa County volunteered during the community investment process. They decided where $1.1 million in funds were allocated across 61 programs of 41 nonprofit agencies that serve people in Ottawa County.

“The community investment process is what helps make United Way unique,” says Liz DeLaLuz, Director of Community Impact for Greater Ottawa County United Way. “You have community members making decisions that affect the community where they live and work. It’s a great way to learn about all the services that make up Ottawa County.”  

David Mann, Store Manager of Home Depot in Grand Haven, is the District Captain for “Team Depot,” Home Depot’s employee volunteerism program, and last year he served as a Community Investment Panel member for Emergency Assistance/Basic Human Needs programs. He said, “I haven’t stopped talking about my experience since.  I’ve recruited several other store managers and department managers throughout our district to volunteer in their local United Ways.  I’ve never seen a better way to get inside a community and learn what people need and how we as a community of individuals and businesses can best respond.  I can’t wait to get to work on my panel this year.”

The Community Investment Process begins with a brief volunteer training session in late January. Volunteers are assigned to panels, or teams. Each panel reviews four to eight different program applications. Each volunteer receives a 3-ring binder containing the applications and agency information, along with study materials about United Way’s community impact model. Panel members will have a pre-tour meeting to review all program applications; two weeks later the panels visit the agencies to learn all about the programs and the impact they have on the community. After the tours are complete, the panels meet to discuss the applications and make their recommendations. One member of the panel, called the panel leader, finalizes the panel’s recommendations. Then all panel leaders meet to finalize the recommendations for presentation to United Way’s Board of Directors.

The volunteer time commitment averages about 20 hours over a two-month period.

This year, community investment volunteer training is scheduled for Monday, January 24 from 5:00-6:30 p.m. at the Ottawa County Fillmore Complex Main Conference Room, 12220 Fillmore St., West Olive (Snacks provided) or Tuesday, January 25 from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. at the same location (lunch provided). Volunteers need attend only one of the sessions.

United Way officials ask those who are interested in volunteering for the 2011 community investment process to contact United Way by January 14. For more information or to volunteer, call Liz DeLaLuz at 616-396-7811 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Or visit and click  “2011 Community Investment Volunteers Information HERE” on the right hand side of the home page.  It will take you to a link with more information and an application.

Suggested Cut line:  Photo 2 (CWIT)

Financial Stability Panel Members visit a transitional housing program at Center for Women in Transition in Holland during  the 2010 Community Investment Process.


2011 Community Investment Volunteers Information HERE

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To volunteer click this link:


2011 Program Application & Attachments Available Now

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Click Below for 2011 Program Application & Attachments



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