The Faces we Serve

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There is a Face Behind Every Program we Serve.
Your Donation Impacts Lives in Lake County.

Without United Way of Lake County and donors like you, many of our community's most vulnerable residents would have no place to turn.



Mentor Senior Center:

Helen lived in New York and after her husband passed away and she began having eye problems which made her unable to drive, she began to feel depressed. As she found herself growing further away from friends, her daughter who lived in Mentor asked her to move closer to her family. Helen was apprehensive to move without knowing anyone other than a few family members. Upon moving, Helen’s daughter signed Helen up for the Special Elders Program at the Mentor Senior Center. The program provides her with the extra assistance she needs for her vision issues but more importantly, provides her with a social opportunity with peers she now calls friends. Helen finds the social component to be the most valuable for her. She also credits the Special Elders Program and the Mentor Senior Center for changing her life of feeling depressed to a vibrant and happy life where she continues to be independent.


Thank you letter from Bob, Connie and Joy:

“Words cannot express how thankful we are for the scholarship to the Fine Arts Association. Your support is allowing our daughter to realize her dream of becoming a Cello player. My husband is a disabled veteran and we could not really afford these lessons for her without the scholarship. The United Way of Lake County does care for our community. Thank you”


Thank you note from Chris Van Dusen of the Madison Food Center:

“Food is such a basic necessity and people can make such a difference by donating to Feed Lake County. We are meeting new families each month and also finding that the food stamps allotments are not keeping up with the increase of food prices. We have seen a recent increase in the number of seniors needing the services of our pantry. The Madison Food Center is appreciative of United Way and all that they do to help fill our shelves for the hungry in our community.”


Success story from Lake County Free Clinic:

“We have a 14 year-old patient with severe uncontrolled asthma who has no access to resources.  He does not qualify for Medicaid.  Before we started seeing him he was in the Emergency Room at least once a month and he was missing school about two to three days a week.  We have started him on three medications that we pay for in order to maintain some control over his asthma.  He is gradually learning, along with his mother, to manage his asthma.  The treatment he has received from LCFC, particularly the medication we provide, has made the difference between life and death for him, and they are incredibly grateful at each visit for help.”


Arthritis Foundation:

One of the services we provide to children who have been newly diagnosed with juvenile arthritis is the Supporting Arthritis Kids (SAK) program, which provides the child with a backpack of resource materials and a heat therapy teddy bear, as well as a resource bag for their parents with a book on raising a child with arthritis and other educational materials.  We received the following thank-you from the mother of a SAK recipient:

“WHAT A WONDERFUL SURPRISE SUSIE GOT IN THE MAIL TODAY!!! A gift from the Arthritis Foundation, and a letter to encourage her, tell her they care, and a link for her to meet other “online” kids with JIA.  The teddy bear is not just a cuddly bear, but has a Flax seed pack inside the belly that heats up to relieve pain from swollen joints.  Notebooks, backpacks, pens, hand sanitizer, water bottle, helpful books for us parents, Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Arthritis Foundation! You made a difference in the life of a child today … AND A PARENT… thank you for your care.



Lifeline offers several different programs within the Health Services umbrella, including prescription assistance, eye care assistance and diabetic supply assistance. Often times, customers who arrive at Lifeline for one program discover another beneficial program that could improve their health. This is true for Juan, a 66 year old Lake county resident who lives with his daughter’s family. Juan is an insulin-dependent diabetic without medical insurance and his family must absorb the financial responsibility of his medical care.

Juan first came to Lifeline for assistance with his diabetic needs, prescriptions and supplies. His insulin prescription was over $500 per month; a required medication to lower his blood sugar. The strain of his condition was an economic and emotional stress on his family. 

His daughter, Rosie, explains “I worry a lot about him; about how we will manage his health.”

During the appointment with the Health Services Coordinator, Juan learned about the Eye Care Assistance Program. He had not had an eye exam in many years and was worried about damage to his eyes from diabetes. At the conclusion of his appointment, Juan had a voucher to receive his insulin as well as an exam scheduled with an eye doctor. 

“I worry less because of the programs from Lifeline.  I can focus on my kids knowing that my dad has help.  We rely on Lifeline’s health programs for my dad,” Rosie explains.

Juan is working to maintain his health with the help of his family. He is better able to manage his diabetes by taking his insulin as prescribed and has been receiving the needed follow-up care for his eyes through Lifeline’s partnership with Prevent Blindness Ohio.


Big Brothers Big Sisters:

Dennis is the big brother and him and Jacob have been matched since March of 2002. Jacob just turned 17 years old and he is driving now. After almost 11 years matched they still get together on a regular basis. Jacob is being raised by his grandmother and she came to us because he did not have a male role model in his life. His dad was never involved and incarcerated and his mom suffered from alcohol and drug issues. Mom had married and Jacob’s step-dad was not a nice man and he did not treat Jacob well at all, which resulted in Jacob moving to Ohio to live with his grandma.

Over the years Dennis and Jacob have joined each others families. Dennis has a daughter the same age as Jacob and they get along great. They include Jacob in on their vacations and their family activities. Dennis is always welcomed and invited to all of his little brother’s events. When grandma was sick and in the hospital, Dennis was Jacob’s guardian and caretaker.

Jacob is a lovely young man with a giving heart. He volunteers at Big Brother Big Sister activities and he is amazing with all of the young kids. He is doing well in school and his future looks bright and Grandma is so grateful for Dennis and his family.


Perry YMCA Child Care (Two Stories):

1. At first my wife and I were reluctant to find child care that did not include immediate family.  We were hesitant to allow the arms of a stranger to hold and comfort our babies.  This was a major decision for us to make.  After all, what is more important than the well-being of your family?  Let me enlighten you with a testimonial that is one of the many as to why the Perry YMCA is the right choice for your family.

Our daughter started the preschool and child care at age 4.  Shortly after that our son was welcomed into the infant program at only six weeks old.  The staff involved with our children has been fantastic.  They are the most genuine, caring, and loving people in the community.  We are proud to say that our children are treated like family. We are comfortable that these loving individuals are helping to shape young minds and provide all the love and care that is necessary for all children to experience. It never seems that this is just a job for the staff.  So much pride goes into all the different programs and events.  They try to keep the parents as involved as the students in the projects, fundraisers, and my personal favorite, movie and pajama night!

An unfortunate event kept me out of work for almost two months.  It was an awful experience both financially and emotionally.  The director of the YMCA took it upon herself to help us with a payment plan in our time of need.  She put our family as a priority before the money. Many people don’t do that in today’s crazy world!  That gesture kept us from going into serious debt!

In short, we would recommend the Perry YMCA Child Care to any parent looking for the best care for their children.  Our kids love it there and come home with big smiles and share their learning experiences with us.  We are blessed to be part of the YMCA family!

Thank you


2. Just want to thank you for your help last Wednesday evening with my husband’s accident.  It was a very stressful time and I really appreciate the dinner for my son and the easy pick-up for my dad.  My husband is improving and hope to have him home this week!

Also, thank you for the lowering of child care cost.  As $ tightens I think I may pay child care in a big check, trying to prioritize.  But that $25 less a week is huge for us!  Thank you.


Project Hope:

Recently, a 41-year-old single mom who left an abusive relationship came to the shelter.  Her 18-year-old daughter had to be separated from her to remain in high school, and stayed with friends while her mother was experiencing homelessness.  Her 8-year-old daughter remained in the care of her father, and her newborn daughter stayed with her. The baby contracted RSV infections during homelessness. Because the shelter operates from 7 p.m.-7 a.m., mom and baby were on the streets during daytime hours. Our aftercare coordinator worked diligently to help mom and baby out of concern for the baby’s deteriorating health. A safe daytime environment was becoming necessary for the rising number of children and parents at the shelter.

The mother was enrolled in a work program, but needed extra time and help getting successfully housed.  Working with our aftercare coordinator, she got her wish – the weekend before Christmas, just before the blizzard, she moved into her apartment.  Her first phone call to the shelter came the day she moved in, when she left a message on the answering machine. Crying, she shared that her baby was swaddled in a blanket that was provided by the shelter. “I wish I had a million dollars, it would not be enough for all you have done for me and my family.”  It was only a few days later that we also launched Families Moving Forward so mothers like this will no longer have to be worried about where to stay safe and warm with their children.


Additional Stories:

Our Story - The Humphreys (PDF)   Client Story - Jason (PDF)   Client Story - Millie (PDF)   Client Story - Roberta (PDF)

Client Story - Kathy (PDF)


Client Video Tidbits: