Three speakers on Tuesday to spotlight success of United Way

photoA former school principal caring for his wife during her battle with Alzheimer’s disease will be among three speakers spotlighting agency success stories at the United Way of Bartholomew County annual meeting at 4 p.m. today at The Commons.

Part of that overall United Way success is expected to include a fundraising campaign total near last campaign’s mark of $4.11 million, according to organizers.

The drive funds 21 nonprofit agencies operating 33 programs that reach an average of nearly 25,000 local residents, United Way figures show. Work ranges from mentoring youth to helping victims of domestic violence and assisting unemployed people to find work.

Gary Goshorn’s brief remarks will praise the work of Just Friends Adult Day Services — from two different perspectives.

Goshorn began using Just Friends several years ago for spouse Carole’s extra care and socialization while he took time to rest as a caregiver. Then he became a board member, and eventually the board president, which he is currently.

“One of the things that’s a real key after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is that the caregiver needs to find a way to take care of himself or herself — especially regarding health,” Goshorn said.

Just Friends, located in a wing of Mill Race Center in Columbus, provides structured activities and professional medical care on weekdays for frail older people who cannot be left alone. The local program launched 30 years ago, giving caregivers such as a family members time for themselves.

“They’re always able to advise and assist us,” Goshorn said. “So, if I ever have questions, I always can talk to a nurse or a program director.”

Kyle Hendricks, United Way’s marketing and communications coordinator, mentioned that Goshorn’s perspective is a rare one, offering a firsthand experience as an agency client with a substantial need and also the viewpoint of an agency leader.

“His story is pretty amazing,” Hendricks said.

Also sharing success stories today will be Lisa Shafran, president of Turning Point Domestic Violence Services, and Sylvia Babcock, executive director of Su Casa Columbus, which works to help Latino families feel welcome with access to needed services in Bartholomew County.

The gathering also will include a brief update on Pathways to Prosperity, United Way’s five-year battle against poverty, said Mark Stewart, United Way president, who announced the effort at last year’s annual meeting.

“When many people think of poverty, they often think exclusively of income,” Stewart said. “But it’s really very multi-dimensional.”

He highlighted that education, family environment and expectations, health, and even the ability to dream beyond one’s current socio-economic situation can have a huge impact on overcoming poverty.

“What we’re really trying to do with this project, as with all our programs, is to create opportunities for residents,” Stewart said.

If you go

The United Way of Bartholomew County annual meeting runs from 4 to 5:30 p.m. today at The Commons, 300 Washington St.

To RVSP, call 812-375-2202, email or visit

Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.