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United Way kicks off 2011-12 campaign

The United Way of Bainbridge-Decatur County kicked off its 2011-12 fundraising campaign with a luncheon last Friday at the headquarters of Southwest Georgia Farm Credit.

At the luncheon, Jeff Findley, a board member who is also United Way’s campaign chairman, said the group was again setting its fundraising goal at $65,000. The non-profit organization helps organize fundraising efforts that benefit 14 local agencies.

“Everybody in this room has been affected, in some way, by the work that is done by these 14 agencies,” he said.

Local business leaders were invited to the luncheon, and they were advised to return to their companies and recommend that their employees deduct a small part of their paycheck to help the United Way.

“Even as little as $1 per pay period can go a long way,” Findley said.

The agencies that United Way will help this year include: BAIN Inc. — Center for Independent Living; CASA of Southwest Georgia Inc.; Decatur County Family Connection; Decatur County Special Olympics; Friends with Jesus Inc./Friendship House; Halcyon Home Inc.; The Laymen Brotherhood Second Chance Outreach Center Inc.; Decatur County Certified Literate Community; R.I.S.E. Educational Tutoring Inc.; The Salvation Army of Bainbridge/Decatur County Service Center; Samaritan Counseling Center of Southwest Georgia; SOWEGA Council on Aging — Bainbridge Senior Center Meals on Wheels; Southwest Georgia Youth Science and Technology Center Inc.; and Suwanee River Area Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Companies and individuals who are interested in learning more about how they can help the United Way can call (229) 246-9288, or visit online at www.bainbridgeunitedway.com.

Samaritan Counseling Center of Southwest Georgia

Also during the lunch, several representatives of agencies spoke to the assembled business leaders. One of those who spoke was Chris Beam, the executive director of the Samaritan Counseling Center of Southwest Georgia.

The counseling center, located on South West Street in Bainbridge, offers services that include assessment and evaluation, individual and group counseling, and family counseling for children, adolescents and adults.

Client fees are based on income level and most are asked to pay at least something, but United Way donations also allow the center to provide assistance to those families who have financial difficulties.

“Because of the generosity of our community, we’ve been able to help people who otherwise might not have been able to get the help they need,” Beam said.

Beam said the center has clients as young as 4 years old.

“We help a lot of people with a variety of needs,” he said. “For the little ones, it’s as simple as giving them an opportunity to paint or play with clay, and express themselves. For our adults, a lot of what we do is marriage counseling.

“We believe that if you strengthen marriages, then you strengthen families.”

United Way ‘Day of Action’

Board member Kim Walden also talked about the United Way’s recent “Day of Action,” where volunteers completed work at the Salvation Army headquarters on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 6.

“A lot of our agencies have physical needs as well as funding needs,” Walden said.

She showed a slideshow of photos from the day, where more than 30 volunteers completed painting, power washing, and other projects at the Salvation Army’s headquarters. They also collected food and other needed items, through a donation drive.

Walden said another Day of Action will be planned in the future, but it will likely be in the spring.