United Way of Central Texas has teamed up with UMHB to create one of the campus’ most successful organizations, while still meeting their mission.
So far, they have been working on building a strong leadership team to help them reach their goals for the year and future years to come.
Senior public relations major Christopher Stroup has risen to the occasion and is now the president of the upcoming organization.
Although Stroup graduates in May 2016, he is confident he will set a firm foundation to help make the UMHB chapter of the United Way successful before he leaves.
“We are trying to empower students and provide ways for them to give back to the community,” he said.
They have already started planning service opportunities for future UMHB events like Parent’s Weekend. In the spring, the group is planning a Play 60 event where the NFL gets involved to teach students the importance of health, exercise and eating right, while also having fun.
Director of marketing and volunteerism at United Way Central Texas, Mary Beth Kelton, is helping Stroup and the other leadership members get started.
“The university prepares students for leadership, service, and faith-informed discernment in a global society. This is the foundation of Student United Way UMHB Chapter,” she said. “This is a great opportunity for students to get involved with a global organization right here in Belton, Texas.”
Because the UMHB Chapter is just building momentum, they have relied heavily on the help of United Way Central Texas. Stroup said they have been very helpful and supportive after hand-picking him to be president.
The organization is adopting the original mission of the non-profit that strives to “bring the entire community together to find lasting solutions that change people’s lives,” according to the organization’s website.
“Student United Way represents the next generation of community leaders. We focus on education, financial stability and health – the building blocks for a good quality life,” Kelton said.
Their primary goal for this year is to get the word out about the new organization.
They have meetings every other Thursday at 6 p.m. in Brindley Auditorium.
The first interest meeting had about 50 people, and they are hoping the number stays consistent or grows in the upcoming meetings.
Because of UMHB’s relationship with United Way, it has made it easier on the leadership team to communicate and get things done for them.
“I am a proud Crusader undergrad and MBA graduate and I know UMHB is the perfect place for a Student United Way chapter,” Kelton said. “UMHB students have a heart for serving the community. We will have many social service projects this semester.”
So far, they have helped out with the reading program that United Way does with the Hope House for underprivileged children.
The organization also plans to hold a book drive soon, so the kids can take home literacy kits each week.
They are volunteering to help United Way with their annual Chrome and Carols fundraiser that helps raise money for United Way’s efforts to help the community.
Their main goals are to help with hunger, poverty and education, which are big problems in the Bell County area that people need to be aware of.
“We want to promote different issues and advocate for different things that are going on in the area,” Stroup said.
They are also hoping to get more people from the community to speak at the meetings.
So far, representatives from the United Way board, the Vice President of Hope leadership at Scott and White and other executive leaders at Scott and White have agreed to speak at future meetings.
“The impact that United Way makes in this community is absolutely profound and it is overwhelmingly awesome,” Stroup said.