After moving to Akron for a fresh start, Cheetara, a mother of four was fed up with navigating the system. “Sure, help is out there, but it’s hard to reach. And when you do need help people make it seem like you shouldn’t use the assistance. It makes you feel like you’ve failed.” Cheetara’s depression was at an all-time high as she struggled to find work and get settled in her own place. Her children were set to start the school year, but at the time, Cheetara couldn’t afford new school supplies. When she heard about one of United Way of Summit & Medina’s Family Resource Centers at her children’s new school, Robinson CLC in Akron, her worries began to fade.
United Way’s Family Resource Centers (FRC) are a safe, welcoming place in a school where parents and caregivers can get information, assistance and referrals to community resources. Cheetara reached out to the FRC for help with school supplies and ended up finding support that broke down many of the other barriers holding her back. She received bus passes, vouchers for household items, rent and utility assistance through Summit County Cares, free tax prep through United Way of Summit & Medina’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program and more. Cheetara says, “United Way’s Family Resource Center helped put me on the right path.”
United Way of Summit & Medina is building a better system, one that puts people at the center. Now, local families like Cheetara’s have somewhere to turn when times get tough and help seems out of reach. A safe place where families can work together with United Way to find lasting solutions for a brighter future. Cheetara says, “Everybody needs help sometimes and that’s okay.”