Our work does so much more
Rebecca and Leslie's Story
Leslie was born with a broken arm. Her parents could have had it fixed at birth, but chose to leave her arm as it was so they could collect disability and fund their drug addiction. Leslie’s grandfather saw what was happening and fought for custody of Leslie for years, finally adopting her when she was 8 years old. As she grew up, her grandfather worried about a lack of positive female role models in her life and approached United Way’s partner, Big Brothers Big Sisters, to find a mentor for his teenage granddaughter. A special situation, BBBS waited months to find the right match for Leslie. Enter Rebecca. After a severe accident left Rebecca lucky to be alive, she felt compelled to give back and signed up with BBBS to become a mentor.
Once paired by BBBS, Rebecca and Leslie found a sisterhood stronger than any blood ties. According to Rebecca, “I knew when we met she was the right little for me. I see myself in her. She went through a lot as a child and to see her today, to know that she is a vibrant, beautiful person gives me hope.” They spend time together taking dogs to the park, practicing driving and attending each other’s family functions. Leslie was even a bridesmaid in Rebecca’s wedding.
Tragically, Leslie’s grandfather became terminally ill due to chemical exposure from his time serving in Vietnam. He hopes to live long enough to see his granddaughter graduate high school, but has no guarantees. However, Rebecca has taken steps to become a foster parent so that she can take Leslie in when the time comes. Leslie’s grandfather knows that no matter what happens to him, Leslie will be safe and secure and loved. Family doesn’t always mean the one you were born with; sometimes it’s the one you make.
Disaster Preparedness and Response
Just one more way your United Way strengthens our community!
Your United Way has a long history of helping Brevard County Emergency Operations by staffing the Emergency Support Function 15 (volunteers and donations) when the EOC is activated due to a local disaster. This partnership began during the 2004 hurricane season when United Way stepped in to bolster staffing at 2-1-1 Brevard, helped staff water and ice sites and addressed long-term recovery (LTR) needs.
Following Hurricane Matthew United Way coordinated with faith-based volunteers to provide immediate help securing tarps and removing trees and other debris.
When Minnie, 58 of Cocoa and a longtime volunteer at a Senior Lunch site had a large tree down in her yard, Baptist Disaster Relief was on site to help her with removal. Thanks to all the volunteers who help!
Another life changed thanks to you!
Grandma Joan Story
Grandma Joan worked hard all her life running a small business and raising a family. As the owner of an art gallery in Brevard, she would make frequent trips to remote areas of the Southwest United States to purchase art and jewelry from Native American artists. She was self-sufficient and resourceful, managing to drive her trusty old Nissan cross country until it had more than 200,000 miles on it. She took chances and never thought she’d live to be 80. Now 81, she says the guardian angel that rode along with her must be shocked that she’s still around.
Joan’s health has declined as she has aged, and she now receives Meals on Wheels through Aging Matters in Brevard. She called one day to ask if we had any idea how much it means to her to get a hot lunch every day. After a lifetime of hard work and independence, she finds herself unable to shop for or fix her own food. Her Social Security check is not enough to cover all her monthly expenses and she sometimes resorts to eating Cheerios to stretch her food out over the weekends. She says the nutrition she gets from the daily meals, along with the visits from the volunteers who bring them, contribute to her longevity and ability to stay in her home.
Meals on Wheels, funded in part by the United Way of Brevard, helps Joan keep her pride and her self-sufficiency. In her words, “I cannot thank you all enough for what you do”.