WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - The News Channel 6 City Guide is a segment that shines a spotlight on local businesses, events, and nonprofits across Texoma. In this episode, we’re giving you a closer look at the March recipient of the Give Light Awards presented by the Junior League of Wichita Falls. The North Texas Area United Way focuses on providing a better life for all through education, income, and health programs as well as funded partners.
“The North Texas Area United Way is a charitable organization that is dedicated to strengthening the community through providing income, education, and health to the members of our community,” Josh Whittiker, treasurer for the North Texas Area United Way said. “We have 15 funded partners here locally. [They include] nonprofit organizations such as Boys & Girls Club, Zavala Heritage, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the YMCA among many others. We also serve just the local community in the surrounding areas. For those that need a resource, we are there to provide it for those people.”
Some of those resources include the Parent Talk Line and fatherhood engagement programs. Marquita Bair was a single mother to an 8-year-old and was expecting another child. A friend suggested to Bair to use Parent Talk Line for resources and information since she was becoming a new mother, again.
“Whenever I reached out to the Parent Talk Line, I ended up coming in contact with my care coordinator. It was a really easy experience honestly,” Bair said. “My care coordinator helped me with resources as well as preparing to become a new mother, again, to a young baby.”
Alfonso Holmes is the fatherhood engagement coordinator for the North Texas Area United Way. His programs help fathers in our area build better relationships with their children.
“We help with those basic needs. We help with getting their driver’s license. If they need it, we help them get a job, find a job,” Holmes said. “Then we help them with resources that they need.”
One of those fathers is Brady Burch. Burch recently graduated from the Dads Workshop Program through the North Texas Area United Way.
“[The program] helped me regain a relationship with my children. [It taught me] how to take better care of them. You know, we spend more quality time together,” Burch said. “It’s helped me give back [...] and help some of the other dads. It’s become a big part of my life. Everybody, kind of, looks at me in a different light, and I really enjoy that.”
The North Texas Area United Way also helps provide funding to other nonprofits in our area, like Habitat for Humanity. Kimberly Wagnor found out she was pregnant with her fourth child shortly after her husband passed away. Soon after, Wagnor moved her family into her parent’s home where they lived for several years before Wagnor volunteered for a Habitat for Humanity build.
While speaking to a contractor about her situation, he told her she was a perfect candidate for the program. Wagnor went to the Habitat for Humanity office to fill out the paperwork and once she was approved, the process to becoming an educated homeowner began.
“Having the chance to have the Habitat [for Humanity] home was, kind of life-changing for us,” Wagnor said. “The past two years since we’ve been working on it, it’s just been life-changing and I’ve seen the kids blossom. I look back because my husband always wanted me to have a house. He wanted us to own a home. Well, we weren’t ever able to. So, now, I’m like, ‘we’re able to do it now.’ It’s been great.”
It’s an impact the North Texas Area United Way prides itself on making.
“What I enjoy most is just knowing that there is a resource for people in our community that might not otherwise have them,” Whittiker said. “Most people don’t tend to realize that when, for example, the winter storms hit, they might have been able to go to their parent’s house or go to a sibling’s house. But there were many people in this town that didn’t have anywhere to go, so 2-1-1 was their only resource,”