Conquering New Heights: United Way of the Brazos Valley

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Story By Ashley Wagner
Photos By Steve Bushman

20160314_overtheedge_233Over two days, more than 50 community members were given the opportunity to rappel down the side of the Hilton College Station & Conference Center, thanks to a unique fundraiser sponsored by the United Way of the Brazos Valley.

“Over The Edge Brazos Valley” provided participants who raised at least $1,000 with a unique challenge – going over the edge, quite literally, of one of College Station’s tallest buildings. By conquering their own fear of heights, volunteers were able to bring awareness and raise money to benefit local United Way partner agencies.

“Over the Edge Brazos Valley gives individuals the opportunity to fight their fears while fighting for the community,” says Alison Prince, president and CEO of United Way of the Brazos Valley. “And that is what United Way is all about. We fight for the education, financial stability, and health of every person in the Brazos Valley.”

United Way of the Brazos Valley provides a wide range of services locally including helping students achieve their potential, empowering families to achieve and maintain financial stability, educating the community on healthy choices, helping families obtain affordable health care, and more, according to their website.

20160314_overtheedge_237“The idea of Over The Edge is to take all the courage you have and fight for change in the community,” says Alsie Bond, volunteer board member for the United Way of the Brazos Valley.

The services United Way of the Brazos Valley provides, and the organizations they support, seek to make a measurable impact in the community.

“United Way is unique because we have 18 local partner agencies that we donate to,” says Greta Messarra Woodward, volunteer board member for United Way of the Brazos Valley and a professional financial advisor for Edward Jones. “Ninety-nine percent of all of our funds stay here in Bryan/College Station,” says Messarra.

Over the Edge brought in more than $100,000 for United Way, which will be used to support a variety of agencies in the Brazos Valley. The money will also be used to help fund the services that United Way directly provides, including the 2-1-1 referral program, which links health and human services to those in need. By dialing 2-1-1, all Brazos Valley residents can access information and referrals to specific programs, services, or organizations that provide assistance.

“I’ve been supporting United Way for 20 years, and it’s one of those organizations I’ll always support,” says Eric Wylie, one of the “edgers” who went Over the Edge on Thursday. “United Way does a really good job of doing things in our community, and when you help them, you help a plethora of other organizations.”

20160314_overtheedge_260Wylie first rappelled 25 years ago as a member of the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets. When he took the plunge in September, he rappelled more than 110 feet down the side of the Hilton Hotel. Wylie was all smiles at the end of his descent, which he made more memorable by descending in a full Ghostbusters costume.

Photos Courtesy of Bushman Studios.

2-1-1 Texas
By United Way of the Brazos Valley

Every solution starts somewhere. For many members in our community, the solution to their family’s needs begins with a call to 2-1-1 Texas/United Way of the Brazos Valley.

The 2-1-1 Texas program is our region’s free Information and Referral Center connecting residents to community resources in their area. When callers dial 2-1-1, they are connected to professionally trained 2-1-1 Specialists who, using compassion and skill, take time to assess the caller’s specific needs; 2-1-1 Specialists ensure that each caller’s needs are addressed with accurate and prompt referrals.

What We Do
2-1-1 Texas quickly and efficiently links people with the health and human services they need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for free.

2-1-1 Texas can provide information and referral for individuals seeking food, shelter and clothing, medical and mental health assistance, affordable childcare, information about caring for an aging relative, parenting resources, tax preparation assistance, help recovering from a disaster, or other needs.

Questions? Simply dial 2-1-1!