Granny All-Stars Basketball fundraiser a huge success, draws hundreds
Just want to take a moment to thank every single person who made GRANNY ALL-STAR BASKETBALL EXTRAVAGANZA 2023 on Nov. 4 a huge success!!
Thank you first and foremost to the Granny Basketball players. What an amazing group of women who spread joy through the game of basketball. This event was 100% their idea and charisma! Thank you ladies for your amazing efforts. Grannies came from around Iowa and made it the most memorable night!! WOW!! HATS OFF TO YOU ALL! Special thanks to Loretta Tool who put in a ton of extra hours in the UWJC office and preparing for the big event.
Thank you to the group of All Stars who joined the team knowing they had very little chance and 0 practices when facing the Granny Mustangs. Thank you Kahlil R Carter, Jason Dent, Sarah Jorges (The Morning Jolt With Jamie & Sarah), Andrew Kuker, Liz Dodd, Sheri Hawley, Adam Roberts, John Bradley, Steve Weeks and Brad Sponseller!!
Thank you to our guest referees Gabbie Marshall and Kate Martin with the Iowa Women's Basketball and Jayne at SWARM for facilitating their visit. Can't say enough about how gracious, humble and kind the two were and we so appreciate them giving their time to be there.
Thank you Randy Ervin and Eric Vander Velden for serving as announcers. Thank you to Avery Potter for singing the National Anthem. Thank you to the ladies who managed the score board, kept score on paper and helped with the rules!!!
Thank you to United Way of Jasper County board members for all your work in making the event a success. Thank you all for volunteering to be a part of the event. Thank you Deb, Jodi, Meggan, Mindi, Alex, Marianne, Nikki, Reanna, Kelly!!
Thank you to everyone who made a dessert or pie or donated one to the auction. And to everyone who purchased a dessert because of you the auction was a huge success and $2,575. HOLY MOLY!!
Thank you to the Newton Athletic Booster Club for partnering with us and hosting a pre-game Chili Feed!!! It was delicious! Thank you to the Newton Wrestling crew for having the concessions open.
Thank you to MercyOne Newton Medical Center's Heidi Welch PT, ATC and Amber Hansen, PT, DPT. Both women are members of the physical therapy department at MercyOne Newton Medical Center and volunteered their time just in case we needed some help. LUCKILY WE DIDN'T!
Thank you to our many on sight volunteers - we could not have done it without your help. And to our photographer Gary "Bubba" Pearson who snapped more than 10,000 photos and is editing them so we can share a ton soon (keep checking back) online!
A HUGE SHOUT OUT to the maintenance crew at the Newton High School who got everything set up and cleaned up. WOW! Thank you! AMAZING JOB!!!
Thank you to Energy 106.7 and the crew at The Morning Jolt With Jamie & Sarah - Sarah and Jamie both for helping spread the word and letting us be on the air to talk about the event!! AMAZING help getting the word out to everyone. And thank you to our friends at Hello Iowa for allowing Sarah and the Granny duo of Loretta Tool and Violet Bakalar be guests on your show. WOW! Thank you all for your help!!
And of course we could not of had this event without the kindness and generous support of our sponsors who help us put these events on. Thank you to Gates Corporation, Riggs Printing & Brand Promotions, Newton Iowa Rotary, JH Travel and Mace Family Dentistry. Absolutely amazing and wonderful supporters who heard of an event, believed in it and helped make it happen. Thank you to all our great sponsors.
In my heart you are all ALL-STARS! I hope everyone feels loved and appreciated. And of course hoping I didn't accidentally leave a name out. Thank you for everything you all did to make this event a huge success and one we will do again!!!
Jessica Lowe Vokes
Executive Director of UWJC
PS Tons of photos are coming soon - including at the autograph table - so stay tuned for those!
Thank you to our sponsors!
Community comes together after major storm rips through Iowa
Aug. 10 at 11:37 a.m. the landscape of Jasper County, Iowa changed significantly when a derecho with long-lasting 95+mph winds blew through Mingo, Ira, Baxter, Colfax, Newton, Kellogg, Sully and Lynnville.
Before Aug. 10 most of us had never heard of a derecho or knew what it was. But after the 45 minutes of torrential downpour and straight line winds ripped through it was clear a derecho was something we would never forget.
While the storm was terrifying, the not knowing the condition of homes and businesses and safety of friends and family was exponentially worse. Jasper County was fortunate as there were few serious injuries caused by the storm but the trees, crops and property did not fair as well.
United Way of Jasper County stepped in to partner with Jasper County EMA, The Way and Community Heights Alliance Church to coordinate clean up efforts for elderly and disabled individuals who were impacted by the storm. From Aug. 17-22, more than 80 individuals volunteered more than 1,000 hours helping 93 homes throughout Jasper County. Jobs ranged from small (raking and removing small debris from yards) to very large (7 massive oak trees falling across a yard). Some jobs were beyond the scope of what we could do and we partnered with Brandon Talsma and Doug Cupples that had access to larger equipment. We also had help from the Drake men's basketball team, Newton Cardinals football team, TPI and several other churches, organizations and individuals who stepped out to help neighbors and strangers in the aftermath.
If you would have asked me if I thought Iowa would see a hurricane I would have thought you were making stuff up for a movie. But after experiencing hurricane strength winds and seeing the aftermath of the storm I won't doubt what 2020 has the power to unleash. In all of the challenges that have come about this year the one thing I can say with total confidence is I'm very proud of the work we have accomplished at the UWJC and our amazing group of volunteers who acted so selflessly in the wake of a devastating natural disaster. 2020 has been a difficult year but people are truly working united as one to help those in need.
UWJC committed to supporting community during Covid-19 and beyond
The United Way of Jasper County is committed to being a resource for Jasper County during the Covid-19 pandemic. While our office was closed to the public in April and May, we were working behind the scenes to assist our Emergency Management Agency and other organizations on the front lines of the pandemic.
The United Way has invested more than $15,000 in PPE for both or our frontline workers (see article above) and free masks to the public since the pandemic began. we also distributed thousands of dollars in Emergency Food and Shelter funds to organizations throughout the county who are working to ensure everyone has enough food to eat.
Our agency also supports the United Way 211 office which answered thousands of calls during the pandemic answering questions about COVID and helping identify resources for struggling families. Additionally we helped organize volunteers to assist in temperature readings and screenings at a local nursing home.
On the lighter side, we also sponsored three movies at the Capitol II - Selma, Shrek and Back to the Future - to give individuals and families an opportunity to have entertainment to look forward to and provided masks to Capitol II for guests who may not of had any.
As a new normal sets in and business reopen their doors we continue to work with our partner agencies and fellow nonprofits to share information on valuable resources, identify community needs and look at ways of funding programs to combat the pandemic, support people who have lost jobs and individuals who are in need.
We thank you for standing with us during this difficult time and appreciate your financial support which allows us to continue our mission. If you'd like to make a donation you can do so by visiting our secure online donation site at https://secure.qgiv.com/for/uwojccd/. You can also send a check to United Way of Jasper County, PO Box 844, Newton, IA 50208.
Stay safe. Stay well.
UWJC awards more than $229,000 to local non-profit agencies
UWJC launches varsity service letter
NEWTON - United Way of Jasper County and Newton High School Student Council have teamed up to launch a new program aimed at encouraging students to get involved and make a difference in their community.
The program, Cardinals United, launched with the new school year and will offer Newton students the opportunity to earn a varsity letter in community service. The idea was presented to the local United Way by members of the student council.
"The students really spearheaded the idea of developing service programs at the school," said Kelly Tremel, NHS teacher and student council adviser. "We have a great group of students who recognize the impact that they along with classmates could have on the community."
Cardinals United, which name recognizes both the Newton mascot and United Way, was a joint effort between student council members, student council advisers Tremel and Randy Mills and UWJC. It is part of the new Cardinals Care initiative, which includes the Silver Cord program.
"When asked if United Way could help develop a service program with the students it was an immediate 'Yes!'" said Jessica Lowe Vokes, UWJC Executive Director. "The opportunity to engage teens in helping positively impact Jasper County residents is an amazing one and will have a lasting and powerful effect on the community."
Students will earn a letter by volunteering at various non-profit organizations throughout the year and recording the hours served. Volunteer hours can be completed through United Way events and programs, and at area non-profits, churches and through school activities like Red Pride Service Day. To earn a letter for the 2018-19 school year, students must complete 75 service hours. Students who earn their letter will be recognized at a special banquet hosted by United Way.
"I believe, in addition to making a difference in Jasper County, the program will really show the students how much they can accomplish," Lowe Vokes said. "Sometimes young people are overlooked as far as what they can do. I think Cardinals United will be an empowering experience for those who take part."
The program was unveiled during a series of assemblies and students had the opportunity to learn more during their lunch break on Thursday. More than 70 students signed up to learn about volunteer opportunities and Cardinals United.
"Our goal is to have at least 20 students complete the hours required for their varsity letter during the first year of the program," Tremel said. "Twenty NHS students completing 75 hours of volunteer work will equal 1,500 hours. That is a tremendous benefit to the organizations and people who will be served by the students."
Modeled after similar varsity letter programs hosted by United Ways around the country, Cardinals United has been tailored to fit the local high school. It will focus not only on United Way programs but allow students to pursue volunteer opportunities with organizations they are passionate about or want to learn more about through hands on experiences.
"Whether it is organizing a blood drive, collecting for the local food bank, lending a hand at the animal shelter or being part of a mission trip, I did not want to limit the students ability to have an impact" Lowe Vokes said. "We all have different skills and talents and I hope the students will be able to use theirs in ways that are meaningful to them."
While currently only at NHS, Lowe Vokes said she is meeting with WEST Academy Principal Bret Miller to discuss expanding the program and hopes other Jasper County schools also will get involved.
"My hope is all school districts in Jasper County will become part of the varsity letter program," she said. "I'd love to see Bolts United, Tigerhawks United, Mustangs United and Hawks United become a reality in the near future."
NHS students who are interested in learning more about Cardinals United can contact Tremel or Mills at NHS or the United Way at email@example.com. Applications are due Sept. 17 to Tremel.
"I think this program is full of potential," Tremel said. "I hope parents and families will encourage their students and support them in their efforts to earn a letter in service. We want the students to know they can truly have a profound impact for good and we want everyone to support them in their efforts."
When asked, you answered ....
This morning I heard the Domestic Violence Victims' advocate that has an office in the United Way of Jasper County building that she had a client who needed some help. The woman had fled a dangerous situation with nothing but the clothes on her back. She needed some of everything. She had nothing - no underwear, socks, shirts, shorts, pants, toothbrush … Nothing.
So the advocate quickly went to work gathering up donated items she had in her office - shampoo, some shirts. I looked through my "Just In Case" cabinet and found a couple more shirts, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Realizing we still didn't have what she needed and the shelter did not have her sizes either I put the call out on facebook asking for help with donated clothes to help this woman. Within a few minutes I had been contacted with offers to help. Someone dropped off a bag of clothes and $20, another stopped by with $18 and a Starbucks gift card - "She may want a smoothie or something special" she said. I gathered up the $78 we had collected and went to the store on a mission.
I can't say thank you so much to those that helped out!! Above is a photo of all the items purchased - 10 pairs of underwear, 10 pairs of socks, jeggings, shorts, 5 shirts and a dufflebag - with donated money, along with everything that was donated
And if you are wondering why I went to pick up these items instead of the advocate it is because she was called out to help another woman. The issue is real folks and it happens all the time - everywhere.
I am thankful for the Crisis Center, the amazing advocate who does this daily, the ladies who came forward and donated today and all the people who support United Way so we can have a Jasper County advocate dedicated to helping the men, women and children in need in our community.
Again, thank you to those who stepped up. When asked, you answered the call for help. You have made life better for someone today. That is an amazing gift to give and to receive.
If you or someone you know is in a dangerous domestic situation and needs help please contact Family Crisis Center at 1-800-464-8340. There are people there 24/7 to assist those in need.
Allocations process integral part
Executive Director Jessica Lowe has been with United Way of Jasper County since 2014. Prior to her time with the UWJC, Lowe was an award-winning journalist and a marketing director for a non-profit.