Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Random Notes From United Way Breakfast

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 5/12/2009 1 comment
This morning I attended a breakfast seminar held by the United Way Young Leaders. The topic was “The Economic Crisis and Its Impact on the Charlotte Community,” led by keynote speaker Matthew Martin, senior vice president of the Charlotte Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Two ladies who represent local nonprofit agencies, Annabelle Suddreth from A Child’s Place and Jane McIntyre from the YWCA Central Carolinas, spoke as well. The breakfast was catered by Hope Haven, a United Way member agency that provides life skills for chemically dependant adults and families.

Martin used a Powerpoint presentation as he went over various economic indicators such as job losses, consumer spending, and new home construction. Even though he's an economist and you would think many of his remarks and figures would go over our heads, they didn't. I think we've all become so in tuned with keeping up with this economic recession as it is reported daily in the media that we fully understand terms like "liquidity" and "consumer confidence." Just about every chart Martin showed looked like it was depicting something falling off a cliff, and much of his data was specific to the Charlotte region. We know that all sectors are down in this economy, but this tutorial was daunting. We're a banktown and the job losses in our local financial industry often dominate the headlines, so I was surprised to learn that more jobs locally have been lost in sectors like manufacturing, construction, and professional services.

Suddreth and McIntyre told personal stories about some of the people their agencies help, how this recession has made life even more difficult for families who were already struggling to make ends meet. One statistic that stayed with me is this: there are currently more than 2,700 homeless children in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Suddreth talked about what life is like for kids who struggle to go to school and have to come home to shelters or live in cars with their families. One great point McIntyre made is that the homeless people we tend to see on the street corner make up only about 15 percent of the homeless population. The rest are hardworking people who are trying to provide for their families. It was staggering to hear about the number of families in Charlotte whose annual household incomes are less than $10,000.

I walked away this morning pledging to get more involved in giving back to the community. The hard times most of us go through pale in comparison to people who don't have food in the house or don't have a house at all. If you want to help out, getting involved with the United Way Young Leaders is a great vehicle. The organization brings together young professionals in the Charlotte area (most under age 40) to volunteer and advocate for health and human service issues. Learn more at www.uwyl.org.

1 comment :

  1. Jarvis,

    Great job outlining the UWYL breakfast meeting. Jane McIntyre, YWCA Central Carolinas CEO, found your blog and was impressed.

    I am the Director of Marketing at the YWCA and appreciate anytime people are listening and understanding the issues of homelessness in our community (and how nonprofit agencies like YWCA and ACP are working to help).

    Thanks again and if you want to take a tour of our facilities, we would love to have you.

    Farrah Lane


Related Posts with Thumbnails