United Way kicks off
Published: Thursday, October 4th, 2012
The United Way “Day of Caring” was held Tuesday, Sept. 25, at Crazy Horse Memorial. It marked the 67th anniversary of United Way and the fourth Southern Hills United Way kickoff.
Its first year, Southern Hills United Way raised $79,000 and last year it raised over $100,000 for 24 organizations. The goal for this year is $85,000.
Speaking at the event were each of the Southern Hills co-chairmen — Scott Lepke, superintendent of Custer School District; Mike Hanson, Hill City School superintendent; and Bill Graham, Hot Springs School board president.
Brad Keizer, SDSU youth program advisor, spoke in Graham's absence, mentioning how United Way serves the area in various capacities.
The Edgemont Senior Center served 32 meals a day, he noted, while Prairie Hills Transit provides transportation for Edgemont residents for medical appointments in other communities, such as Hot Springs and Custer. United Way also helps fund the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club in Hot Springs, as well as the backpack program.
Hanson said United Way helps meet the diversity of students’ needs through the 24 organizations it helps fund, such as the Boys and Girls Club.
Lepke said United Way holds a very special place in his heart. “It’s cool to drive through a town and see the United Way thermometer,” he said. It’s even better to drive through later and see how the level has risen, he added.
“United Way is a great way to focus the opportunity to assist 24 organizations and get to see kids impacted through those organizations on a daily basis,” he said.
Lepke said he had the privilege of hearing a 9-1-1 call in which a little school girl was at home when her father physically abused her mother. “W.E.A.V.E. helps in those situations,” he said. “Then we see those kids the next day and wonder why they're not concentrating.”
Last year the Custer school employees challenged the hospital employees to see who could raise the most money. Although the hospital won, the two entities raised over $12,000. “The bottom line," Lepke said, “was that we had fun and we were able to raise money for those organizations.”
The organizations assisted by United Way and the percentage of funds given to them are listed in the United Way brochure that was inserted in last week's Custer County Chronicle and Hill City Prevailer.
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