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Stories

Thursday, August 11, 2016
Michael Strenta, a United Way of Long Island DREAMS for Youth Scholarship recipient, had been dealt a difficult hand as a child. Diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes at a young age, he has learned to not only deal with this but to use it as a motivation to strive for greatness. We are very proud of Michael, as he begins his studies as a freshman at the University of Arizona where he will be double majoring in biomedical engineering and music. Here is Michael's story: Mahatma Gandhi once said, "Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever."  These are the words that I... Read more
Monday, August 8, 2016
  Anthony Royster is on top of the world – literally as an iron worker stationed on the Verrazano Bridge, and figuratively with a happy and loving family at home – but it wasn’t always this way. Anthony grew up in a single-parent home in Wyandanch, with an older sister and two younger brothers where physical and mental abuse was commonplace. Without positive role models in his life, he searched for an escape, but was led down the wrong path where he was later arrested and incarcerated. Upon his release, Anthony realized he needed to turn his life around. He had heard about United Way of Long... Read more
Thursday, August 4, 2016
After studying abroad in Florence, United Way of Long Island DREAMS for Youth Scholarship recipient Marie St-Cyr shares her thoughts on the experience, made possible by an enrichment scholarship.  What is the educational experience abroad like? How does it compare to that at home? The educational experience abroad is very different from the one back at my home college. At the Lorenzo De Medici the teachers help us learn about the way we approach art instead of just creating it. The process behind the artwork is more important than the technicality. I feel that I have definitely grown a lot... Read more
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
  The phrase “A strong work ethic” is a fitting description for Korean Era veteran David Himmelheber, but doesn’t quite do his drive justice. He has worked hard his whole life and is not looking to stop anytime soon, especially after graduating from VetsBuild and beginning a new career at the age of 82. David had a good upbringing; the middle of seven children, he was born in Clarksville, Indiana. He observed how hard his dad worked during The Great Depression and World War II in order to succeed and provide for his family. His father’s work ethic has made everlasting lasting impression on... Read more
Friday, April 29, 2016
Meet Kya Kearney, one of 50 students who decided to take hold of his future by enrolling in United Way of Long Island’s YouthBuild program – class of 2016. This life-changing opportunity offers youth who are facing challenges a chance to rebuild their lives with hope and promise for a brighter tomorrow. Kya traveled a long road before finding his seat in the YouthBuild classroom. Upon discovering that his father had kidney disease, Kya’s family decided to travel in a small RV, moving from trailer parks to campsites, in search of a medical cure. The struggles mounted when the RV became... Read more
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
  By Matthew Burrier, US Army Veteran I am the oldest of two children born in Sacramento, California. Adopted at the age of eight with my biological sister, we grew up in the Hill Country of Central Texas.  In 2006, I graduated high school and embarked on a journey into the United States Army.  My mother, fearful of me being another statistic in the growing wars, insisted on helping me choose my future career field.  Her choice won, as it usually does, and I enlisted as a Chaplain’s Assistant.  My primary responsibility was as a bodyguard since Chaplains do not carry weapons in combat.  I... Read more
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
United Way of Long Islands The DREAMS for Youth Scholarship Fund is a program that awards grants in the areas of Academics, Community Service, & Enrichment. These grants are awarded to students by students as the DREAMS for Youth Advisory Board, is comprised of grade 7-12 students that work under the guidance of United Way of Long Island Staff.  When it came to her peers deciding on a worthy scholarship recipient, they quickly saw that Rachel Gladstone full filled all of the requirements needed and more. Rachel grew up with Caleb Smith State Park as her backyard. This is where the... Read more
Monday, March 28, 2016
A grateful mother's experience with the Long Island Head Start Program "I am very happy with the Long Island Head Start Program. The program has provided my family with the opportunity to create an early learning environment and gives a lot of support to my husband and I regarding my children's development. One of my kids started in the Long Island Head Start Program in February 2012. My husband and I were very happy when one of our two girls was enrolled. The next year my oldest child was accepted too. I became an expectant mother and was enrolled in the Expectant Woman's program. Now my son... Read more
Monday, March 28, 2016
Joshua, a 15 year old high school sophomore, was struggling with staying on track towards earning a high school Regents diploma. With a 2.0 GPA and several behavior incidents throughout the school year, Joshua was facing possibly suspension and risked not being promoted to his junior year of high school. His mother, Lori, approached Littig House after hearing the success of the Youth Council and College/Career Exploration program to see if Joshua could enroll in the program. Joshua, who was reluctant to participate at first, felt he wasn't being heard by those around him. Assigning him to a... Read more
Monday, March 28, 2016
Joseph’s wife Helen is living with progressive MS and uses a wheelchair. Some years ago, as a devoted husband, Joseph began attending a support group offered by the National MS Society -Long Island Chapter. He quickly became a dedicated and regular member. As time moved on the group was no longer able to continue to meet due to a turnover in volunteer leadership which caused membership to dwindle. Joseph, who saw the value of the group both for himself and Helen, stepped forward to ask how he could help. Joseph participated in training offered by the National MS Society and has been the well-... Read more

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