Angel Flores | United Way of Weld County
In the newest Spiderman movie “Across the Spider-Verse,” Miles Morales (the new Spiderman) visits an alternate reality: one in which Spiderman never existed.
As you might imagine, New York City without Spiderman is crime-ridden, depressing, and hopeless. The world without Spiderman is a bleak place.
We see this same idea explored in the 1946 holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” in which George Bailey gets to see what his small town would be like if he had never been born. Bedford Falls, without George Bailey, is also a bleak place.
I’ve been serving on the United Way of Weld County board of directors for the last six years, and I am now honored to be assuming the role of board chair this month.
And so I ask: What would Weld County be like without United Way?
Through a five-pronged approach, United Way mobilizes collective resources in Weld County to address the biggest challenges we are facing, as identified by community members.
Reading Great by 8
Before the beginning of 4th grade, children need to learn to read – because after this time, they are pretty much reading to learn. It is critical that children don’t miss this important developmental milestone.
United Way manages Weld County’s Early Childhood Council, a community collaboration that is seeing improved outcomes for children before and during the first years of school.
Thrive by 25
Most of us can think of at least one person who made a difference in our lives as youth and young adults, and we know how important that was. The transition from adolescence to adulthood is difficult enough, but when a young person in our community must do it without a connection to a caring adult, the results can be disastrous.
With our partners, United Way is working towards having at least 75% of Weld County youth connected to a caring adult by 2024.
Weld’s Way Home
The COVID-19 Pandemic affected everyone in so many ways, ways that we won’t fully understand for years. Many in our community who were barely hanging on before 2020 now find themselves without housing. We see these folks living unhoused in Weld County today.
Through the work of the Housing Navigation Center, the cold weather shelter and our community partners, we are making significant progress in our fight to ensure that no person is forced to live unhoused.
Colorado has the third fastest-growing population of adults 65+. This generation has contributed in countless ways to the great county we live in. They deserve resources to age with dignity in the community of their choice.
The Aging Well shared effort includes more than 20 partner agencies that are working to ensure just this.
Having a wide variety of services in place means little if they aren’t publicized or can’t be accessed. Through a variety of avenues, United Way connects people in need with available resources.
Weld Project Connect is a one-day event designed to bring together service providers with those who need their help. Also, last year 211 Colorado made 16,764 referrals in northeast Colorado to help with things like rent, utilities, and food.
The needs are vast, and I’m so thankful to live in a place where individuals, government, and service providers lock arms and work together to meet the needs of our community. The world without United Way of Weld County would be a bleak place, and I’m glad that we don’t have to find out what it would be like. Find out more at UnitedWay-Weld.org/initiatives.
Angel Flores is the United Way of Weld County board of director’s chair and the pastor of Mosaic Church in Evans.