One more teen. It may not sound like a lot, but that’s the impact of an eight percent increase to the Central Racine County Health Department. The department serves Mount Pleasant, Sturtevant, Caledonia and North Bay.
All told, the United Way of Racine County is allocating $2.9 million in donations to various groups and organizations in Mount Pleasant-Sturtevant Patch.
That money will go toward the organization’s Teen Parenting Support Program, which provides case management services for teen parents through age 19. The goal is to develop the teens and their children so that both can be successful and reach their full capacity, including having the mother graduate from high school, said Health Department Director Margaret Gesner.
“We hadn’t asked for more money,” Gesner said. “But now, we’ll be able to case manage one more teen. I was grateful for their support of our program.”
Gesner said the funding is geographically appropriate, as Racine County traditionally has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the state. The program – now in its third grant cycle – provides care for pre-natal children through age three. The average teen stays in the program for about one year.
“We have shown success in different indicators,” Gesner said. “Case management coupled with other community programs can make a difference in the life of teens and their children. Teen mothers face so many obstacles already.”
Though the new funds will not directly contribute to the creation of new jobs at the Health Department, Gesner said they will amount to more job security for the half-time nurse that works on the program. And in this tough economy, Gesner added, the teens who graduate can mean to a better-prepared workforce.
Each year, United Way volunteers have a lengthy job to do in allocating donor dollars. This year, about 300 core volunteers spent some 10,000 volunteer hours reviewing applications and benchmarks of progress from donation recipients.
In the end, the $2.9 million was allocated to 48 different organizations in the county. The groups all provide some type of service to the community, from tutoring to mental health counseling to domestic violence treatment.
“Volunteers thrive on being very thorough and examining the applications from the agencies,” said United Way of Racine President Dave Maurer. “It’s a heady process and the organizations have to be doing a good job to get the dollars.”
There are some 300 companies among 10,000 donors in the county, Maurer said, all of whom expect results from their contributions. In fact, one organization – the George Bray Neighborhood Center – lost its funding, though it is eligible to apply again next year.
Maurer said one United Way committee has limited funds remaining to allocate and will approach some agencies in the community. A timetable has not yet been set for when that money will be allocated.