Community Impact

By Trista Stout-Walker, Vice President of Community Impact

As we celebrate the events and holidays this month, it has given me the opportunity to have a teachable moment with my family. My oldest asked me why I was off on Monday, June 20. I was able to serve as my child’s teacher and explain Juneteenth. I used the discussion to stress the importance of kindness and recognizing human dignity. I watered the seed of humility, and hopefully, it will grow within my daughter. It is tough being a parent, but I am grateful that I can have open conversations with my girls. Southwest Alabama can learn from past mistakes and be open to equality.

By Trista Stout-Walker, Vice President of Community Impact

Access to Mental Health services continues as a present need for our community, especially over these past two years. UWSWA and 2-1-1 are collaborating with the Mobile County Health Department to pivot the Covid Wrap-Around Services to focus on mental health for those affected by Covid-19. I am proud that we are creating an additional venue for community members to access mental health resources.

By Trista Stout-Walker, Vice President of Community Impact

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month and I am here to tell you that United Way of Southwest Alabama (UWSWA) has the best volunteers by far. In April we like to encourage volunteerism, and we are off to a great start. Just last week, three student groups from the University of South Alabama completed projects to benefit UWSWA’s partner agencies in Mobile County. These projects supported educational and essential initiatives at the agencies. The volunteers provided time and many hands to support each’s agency’s mission to offer health and human support services.

By Trista Stout-Walker, Vice President of Community Impact

I was asked to write about women in my life who left a positive influence on my journey. That task sends me back to the beginning. It begins with my mother, grandmothers, great- grandmother, aunts, and great aunt. All of these women shed light on the importance of spirituality, bravery, advocacy, leadership, kindness, and determination. All were servant leaders who volunteered and cared for others in the community. All advocated for others who were facing domestic violence, addiction, and mental health. They taught me to work hard, have faith, trust in yourself, and remember to love and care for yourself. As you can see, I was always destined to work at a nonprofit.

By Trista Stout-Walker, Vice President of Community Impact

Many people say that it takes a special person to work in a nonprofit. I hate to burst your bubble, but it does not. To put it simply, it takes a person that is willing to care for someone else. Many of you already do this and have an interest in doing more. In our field this is referred to as “a servant’s heart “or “servant leadership”.

By Trista Stout-Walker, Vice President of Community Impact

2022, oh my my! It is a new year that brings new possibilities. It also brings the same problems and barriers from 2021. UWSWA’s Community Impact Outlook strives to offer new solution or supports to the residents of UWSWA’s four county footprint. For example, UWSWA and 211 has partnered with Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and Mobile County Health Department (MCHD) to offer Covid-19 quarantine support. We are working to eliminate the financial burden that quarantining may create. This is an old problem, but we are tailoring our impact to provide solutions. A full list of quarantine supports can be found on our Covid-19 information page. If you are in need of Covid quarantine support, please dial 2-1-1.

By Trista Stout-Walker, Vice President of Community Impact

My favorite holiday song is Let it Snow. I know, to live in South Alabama and dream of snow is far-fetched, but I have personal experience with snow. As a child, we lived on a strawberry farm in Benton, Maine for about a year. I remember the snow and the experience through the eyes of the child. I would walk out into the yard and sink into the snow up to my waist. I even owned a snowsuit, one very similar to the one featured in A Christmas Story.

By Trista Stout-Walker, Vice President of Community Impact

Let’s talk about connections. One of the highlights of living in a small town is that everybody knows everybody, and you are connected to everyone that you encounter in some way, shape, or form. I have a personal theory that in the South, it is 3° of separation. These connections play a vital role in access to information and services.

By Trista Stout-Walker, Vice President of Community Impact

I love a good screen shot of an uplifting message from social media. While preparing for this blog, I was inspired by a quote from William James, “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” In October, many causes celebrate “awareness month,” and many are near and dear to my heart. While spreading awareness, you may participate in a walk to raise funds for breast cancer research or wear purple on October 21st for Domestic Violence Awareness. These simple acts serve as outreach and conversation starters. You are planting the seed of your advocacy and service within another person. I classify these moments as small victories!

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