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BC United Way good as gold at 50

October 25, 2012

Beaufort County United Way officially turned 50 Thursday night, as friends and supporters descended on the Washington Yacht & Country Club for a birthday celebration. Mark Hamblin, the director for the organization, said the recognition was technically past due. “If you’re mathematically inclined and you look at the website, well, you may think, ‘Wait a minute — that’s 51 years,’” Hamblin laughed.The Beaufort County United Way was started in 1961, but taking into consideration last year’s transition from one director, Mary Elizabeth McNeill, to the next, Hamblin, add a devastating hurricane, and the big anniversary was postponed, Hamblin added.
But Hamblin did not postpone the message of the difference United Way makes in Beaufort County. A five-minute video played at the event highlighted four people whose lives had been greatly affected by the organization — people who had contributed to United Way in the past, only to unexpectedly have to rely on the organization to get them through tough times. One was a client of Eagle’s Wings, another, someone who had lost everything to Hurricane Irene last year.

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Day of Service donated to Aurora

 October 16, 2012

Pharmaceutical reps descended upon Aurora last Thursday night, prepared to work from dawn to dusk on Friday. Oddly, they weren’t there to sell meds. Instead, they scraped ceilings and ripped out mold-infested carpet and floor tiles over buckling floors.These reps work for Eli Lilly, an international pharmaceutical company, and their trip to Aurora was part of the company’s Global Day of Service. Across the world red-shirted Lilly employees took a day off from their regular jobs to lend their assistance where needed. This year, according to organizer Rebecca Soplata, they were needed in Aurora.Soplata was looking for a cause for her Day of Service volunteers, a place “where we can put our efforts to greatest use.” Through Beaufort County United Way Executive Director Mark Hamblin, Soplata heard about ongoing efforts to rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Irene and how, more than a year later, many families remain displaced and homes have yet to be rebuilt.She made arrangements through the North Carolina Conference of United Methodist Church disaster response services to get herself and her crew of 10 on site.

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Local United Way invests in students

December 1, 2012

Access to computers has increased for students at two Beaufort County schools, thanks to the Beaufort County United Way.More than 50 laptop computers were divided between Bath Elementary School and John Small Elementary School. The computers were donated by industry and refurbished by the United Way in Raleigh.“Technology skills are a crucial piece of preparing students for their futures. Gifts such as these laptops help us provide more continuous instruction when budgets may not allow,” said Don Phipps, BCS superintendent. “We are so appreciative of this type of support from a community partner like the United Way.”Thanks to this donation, Bath Elementary School recently unveiled its first-ever mobile laptop cart. The mobile cart will enhance student research projects, technology lessons and student skills.John Small Elementary School is taking a similar route to putting their gifts to work. Students and teachers will be able to check out the computers for research report work or any class work that can be supported by technology.Students also will be using the computers to access learning-focused software programs.“The United Way of Beaufort County realizes the critical role education plays in moving our fellow residents and Beaufort County forward economically,” said Mark Hamblin, executive director of the Beaufort County United Way. “Introduction to technology is a big part of that education for our school-age kids. We’re thrilled to have been able to partner with Dr. Phipps and Beaufort County Schools to help bring these computers to the county and help to bridge the ‘digital divide’ that exists in our part of the state.”Any business that has updated computers and wants to put the older ones back to work for someone else is encouraged to contact the Beaufort County United Way at 975-6209.

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Tyson keeps charity running smoothly

 August 20, 2012

Victoria Tyson started with United Way through the Beaufort County Community College work-study program, and then she never left.“It’s been fabulous. We’re a one-person office, and she said she’d be happy to do it,” said Mark Hamblin, executive director of Beaufort County United Way. “She’s been coming just about every day.”Tyson started at United Way in 2011. Nattalie Castro with the JobLink Career Center in Washington asked Tyson if she wouldn’t mind helping out Hamblin’s predecessor, Mary Elizabeth McNeill. When Tyson ran out of work-study hours, she noticed that her help was still needed and decided to stay on as a volunteer.

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