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United Way starts new program, receives funding, names summer interns

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Wed, May 30th 2018 12:30 pm
Women United of Greater Niagara officially launched earlier this month. From left: President Joanne Beaton, United Way of Greater Niagara President Connie Brown, Vice President of Membership Amanda Irons-Rindfleisch, Vice President and Secretary Camille Sarkees-Brown and Erika Kastel, director of resource development at United Way of Greater Niagara.
Women United of Greater Niagara officially launched earlier this month. From left: President Joanne Beaton, United Way of Greater Niagara President Connie Brown, Vice President of Membership Amanda Irons-Rindfleisch, Vice President and Secretary Camille Sarkees-Brown and Erika Kastel, director of resource development at United Way of Greater Niagara.
On Friday, May 18, United Way of Greater Niagara announced its Women United of Greater Niagara initiative along with the new program's officers, mission and action plan for this year.
Women United of Greater Niagara is an influential group of community-minded women who will work with United Way to improve the Niagara community and inspire women to get involved.
United Way of Greater Niagara provides funding for 42 programs that give back to the Niagara community - with help from 25 agencies that now will work with Women United, as well.
"Women United is the new women's leadership initiative from United Way," said Joanne Beaton, president of Women United. "We are a community of women who advocate and improve the lives of women and families. We urge all women to support and encourage each other. We must work together to strive for knowledge. We are committed to inspire, educate and motivate."
The following officers will lead Women United in Niagara Falls, alongside Beaton: Vice President and Secretary Camille Sarkees-Brown, an attorney at Roscetti and DeCastro P.C.; Vice President of Membership Amanda Irons-Rindfleisch, an investigator with the Niagara County Sheriffs Office; and Vice President of Special Events Cara Turner, sales and marketing manager at Hard Rock Cafe, Niagara Falls USA.
"Women United is a global growing network of over 70,000 women dedicated to creating a world of opportunity for everyone," said Erika Kastel, director of resource development at United Way of Greater Niagara. "This group of passionate women aim to address the most critical needs in 145 local communities across the U.S. They collectively have raised over $1 billion within the last 12 years. Therefore, we wanted to bring Women United to our community."
United Way of Greater Niagara and United Women encourages women in the community to take part and become a member or volunteer with their organization. Beyond an annual financial contribution, members can invest their time, professional expertise and talent to support causes they care about in their own community. At the same time, they can connect with other powerful, committed women in the community.
For more information about Women United, contact Kastel at [email protected] or 716-731-4580, ext. 205.
US Department of Homeland Security Grants Niagara County Federal Funds; Qualifying Agencies Urged to Apply
Niagara County has been allocated $107,653.00 of federal funds to supplement emergency food and shelter programs in the county under Phase 35. These funds are made available through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under The Emergency Food and Shelter National Board program.
The local board was charged to distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-needed areas around the country. The local board will determine how the funds awarded to Niagara County are to be distributed among the emergency food and shelter programs run by local service agencies in the area. It also is responsible for recommending agencies to receive these funds, and any additional funds made available under this phase of the program.
Under the terms of the grant from the national board, local agencies must be private, voluntary nonprofits or units of government to be eligible to receive federal funds and have an accounting system. Applicants must also practice nondiscrimination and have demonstrated the ability to deliver emergency food and/or shelter programs. If a private, voluntary organization, a voluntary board is required.
Qualifying agencies are urged to apply.
Niagara County has distributed emergency food and shelter funds previously with Catholic Charities of Buffalo; Community Missions of Niagara Frontier; Heart, Love & Soul; Niagara Community Action Program; Salvation Army Lockport; Salvation Army Niagara Falls; Tonawanda and Lockport; Sister Helen's Pantry; Society of St. Vincent DePaul Buffalo; and St. John de LaSalle Church. These agencies were responsible for providing meals and nights of lodging throughout the county.
The selection was made by a national board that is chaired by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency and consists of representatives from: the American Red Cross; Catholic Charities, USA; National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA; The Jewish Federations of North America; The Salvation Army; and United Way Worldwide.
Public or private voluntary agencies interested in applying for emergency food and shelter program funds must contact Connie Brown for an application via the United Way of Greater Niagara, 6420 Inducon Drive W, Suite B2, Sanborn, NY 14132; by phone at 716-731-4580; or online at www.uwgn.org. The deadline for applications to be received is June 1. No late applications will be considered.
Meet United Way Interns
This summer, United Way of Greater Niagara has hired three interns to assist on marketing, campaigns and special events.
"I am delighted to welcome three outstanding students to experience what we do at United Way of Greater Niagara," Kastel said. "They will be working beside staff, our funded agencies, community partners, and learning how to give back to the community."
Amber Villella is the campaign and program review assistant at United Way. She was born and raised in Niagara County and graduated from Royalton Hartland High School, where she played soccer, ran track, and was involved in many school activities. She currently attends Rochester Institute of Technology and is in the BS/MS physician assistant program. She said she hopes to become a physician assistant in the local area after graduation.
Her internship is sponsored by The Grigg-Lewis Foundation.
"I chose to intern at United Way, because helping others is very important to me," Villella said. "I enjoy participating in community events and take pride with helping others. I'm excited to be able to do this for my community all summer through United Way."
Brady Siwek is a marketing and special events assistant at United Way of Greater Niagara. He was born and raised in Clarence and graduated from Clarence High School. He is currently a senior at Niagara University, set to graduate in 2019, with a major in marketing and minor in communications.
The Grigg-Lewis Foundation also sponsors his internship.
"I chose to intern at United Way, because of their heavy involvement in giving back to the community," Siwek said. "Helping others and brainstorming ideas has always been a strong suit of mine. As soon as I met with the staff at United Way, I felt a connection. I know I can contribute greatly to the United Way mission."
Brown noted, "Having student interns for United Way of Greater Niagara not only helps expose young people to the needs of the community, but also brings more young and creative innovations to this organization."
Lauren Garabedian is a marketing and special events assistant at United Way. Garabedian was born and raised in Niagara Falls and is currently attending Niagara University where she majors in communications and Spanish. She also plays for the club volleyball team. Garabedian previously interned at Niagara Frontier Publications, located on Grand Island, and continues to write for them when she is available to do so.
Her internship is sponsored by General Motors Holdings Components of Lockport.
"The reason I wanted to be a communications major is because it gives me the ability to affect so many lives, and that's exactly what United Way does," Garabedian said. "Their involvement in the community helps so much in many ways that many people may not know. I want to help those people understand the work that United Way does. For it is these experiences that will help develop and create my style of writing in many ways."
Pictured, from left, are United Way of Greater Niagara interns Brady Siwek and Lauren Garabedian.

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