Agencies give testimony to aid from United Way

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 8, 2000

For Betty Washington, it’s the Adams County Life Skills jobs program that has given her self-esteem and independence for the past four years.

For Torrey Groce, it’s the Salvation Army youth program he says has blessed his life.

For Josephine Matthews, it’s the Natchez Senior Citizens Center, where she can enjoy fellowship with other seniors while teaching them a few lessons in nutrition.

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&uot;It&uot; is how area residents enjoy the funds raised to support those programs and 22 other agencies under the umbrella of United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou.

United Way kicked off its new fund-raising campaign with an agency fair Tuesday evening at the Natchez Senior Citizen Multi-Purpose Center. United Way has set a $320,000 fund-raising goal this year.

At the fair, 25 agencies crowded into the auditorium at the senior center with booths offering information on their services and testimonials from those they have helped – from Boy Scouts to senior citizens to a puppy cradled in the arms of a Natchez-Adams County Humane Society volunteer.

&uot;We’re here not for a formal event but maybe to let some of these people touch your heart,&uot; said Kevin Smith, chairman of the United Way executive committee.

Washington has worked her way through Southwest Mississippi Mental Health’s programs, from Life Skills, through which she worked at Magnolia Industries, and the transitional employment program, through which she’s worked at Alcorn State University and Boswell Early Intervention program.

&uot;TEP&160;builds your self-esteem and teaches you to be independent,&uot; Washington said. &uot;It teaches us how we can work and prosper.&uot;

Groce has been involved with the Salvation Army’s youth programs for several years, an opportunity that gives him the chance to travel with other youth and to receive tutoring instruction.

&uot;It’s been a blessing in my life,&uot; Groce said. &uot;It’s changed my life for the good. I pray that y’all still support it.&uot;

Matthews said she enjoys the fellowship at the senior center, where she also volunteers at the adult day care and leads seminars on nutrition.

&uot;We just enjoy ourselves,&uot; Matthews said of her fellow seniors. &uot;We love the center; this is our second home.&uot;