Since 1943, United Way of the Greater Winona Area has brought together people and resources to build a safety net to help meet the needs of our friends, neighbors, co-workers and families.
Live United. A credo. A mission. A goal.
Our mission is that we will support our families in their efforts to raise healthy, thriving, productive children in our community.
United Way reponse to the Oklahoma tornadoes
Our hearts are broken for the people of Moore, Oklahoma. With so many dead – children among them – it is difficult to know what to think or how to react. Our thoughts and prayers go to the community and all those affected.
After disasters, many people want to help but don't know the best way to do so. We have all seen too many disasters over the past few years and have learned a lot. While we all want to do something - anything - we need to provide help in ways that make the most sense for the organizations helping those who are struggling.
Those who recall the flash floods in Southeast Minnesota in 2007 remember all the organizations that came to help us. In addition to the governmental organizations, we received help from private organizations. There were so many – Red Cross, Salvation Army, Lutheran Disaster Response, American Baptist Men, among others.
The reason so many organizations helped is that they each have a different role to play in disaster response and recovery. Their response is organized through a group called National Voluntary Organizations Assisting in Disaster (VOAD). Minnesota also has a VOAD group. The mission of the VOAD is “cooperation, communication, collaboration and coordination.”
When a crisis strikes, the VOADs activate those members who have the expertise needed for the specific event. Some are emergency response; some have longer-lasting roles to play. The one thing they all need is the resources to do their work. In most cases, the best resource is cash. Organizations often don’t have the necessary space or logistics to handle items. They can, however, use money to purchase the specific items they need.
Additionally, local non-profits are affected when their community is in crisis. They need to continue to provide services to their clients even when the organization itself has been impacted.
United Way of Central Oklahoma has activated its disaster relief fund to assist their partner agencies who are working on the tornado relief efforts. To donate, go to www.unitedwayokc.org
or send a check to United Way of Central Oklahoma, P.O. Box 837, Oklahoma City, OK 73101 with a notation for May Tornado Relief.
United Way of the Greater Winona Area is also accepting contributions to this effort. We will pass along – again, with no administrative fee – any donations made locally to United Way of Central Oklahoma. Contributions can be sent to United Way, 902 E. 2nd St., Suite 330, Winona MN 55987. If you have any questions, please call 507-452-4624.
During times of tragedy, we are all part of a larger community. This is one such time we can come together to support our neighbors.
Talking about the news with your children
Some tips from PBS.org
Talking about the news with kids happens in everyday moments. Children ask questions in the car on the way to school, in between pushes on the swings, and just when you're trying to rush out the door. In one breath, they'll ask about a range of topics — from the weather to the president to the latest war. And when difficult questions come up, parents wonder how to respond.
To help the conversation along, this article offers flexible suggestions for answering kids' questions about the news. There is no script to follow but these strategies can help you tune in to what your child is thinking and feeling and talk it through together.
Start by finding out what your child knows. When a news topic comes up, ask an open-ended question to find out what she knows like "What have you heard about it?" This encourages your child to let you know what she is thinking.
Ask a follow up question. Depending on your child's comments, ask another question to get him thinking, such as "Why do you think that happened?" or "What do you think people should do to help?"
Explain simply. Give children the information they need to know in a way that makes sense to them. At times, a few sentences are enough. "A good analogy is how you might talk about sex," adds Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Ed. D. "You obviously wouldn't explain everything to a 5-year-old. Talking about violence and safety is similar."
Listen and acknowledge. If a child talks about a news event (like a local robbery or kidnapping) and is worried,recognize her feeling and comfort her. You might say "I can see you're worried, but you are safe here. Remember how we always lock our doors." This acknowledges your child's feelings, helps her feel secure, and encourages her to tell you more.
Offer reassurance. When a child is exposed to disturbing news, she may worry about her safety. To help her calm down, offer specific examples that relate to her environment like, "That hurricane happened far away but we've never had a hurricane where we live." Actions speak louder than words — so show your child how you lock the door if she gets scared by a news report about robbers, point out the gutters and storm drains if a hurricane story causes fear, and explain what the security guards do at the airport after a story about terrorists.
Tailor your answer to your child's age. The amount of information children need changes age by age. "A kindergartner may feel reassured simply knowing a hurricane is thousands of miles away. An older child may want to know how hurricanes could affect the place where he lives and may want to know what is being done to help those in need. Both ages will be reassured by doing something to help," notes Jane Katch, M.S.T., author of They Don't Like Me: Lessons on Bullying and Teasing from a Preschool Classroom.