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Stories

Tuesday, September 4, 2018
In 2009 when Shayne was only 18, his father passed away from cancer. In the midst of his mourning the loss of his dad, he found himself watching a documentary about three men who ran across the Sahara Desert and feeling a sudden sense of self. It was that moment that Shayne decided he was meant to be part of the running world, even though he had never run a race in his life. “I just knew that I wanted to train for an ultra-marathon after watching that movie. A voice in my head said “this is what you need to do,” recalled Shayne. “It was a Wednesday, I went to the running store and told them... Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Michele didn’t run a mile until she was 24, and thought that accomplishment was the most amazing thing in the world. In fact, running just that one mile was at one point a life goal of hers. “I was never athletic growing up, I was overweight when I graduated college and after a few years of living with that, I knew I needed to make a change. After that first mile, I started losing weight, changing my life habits and lost about 80 pounds, but I still wasn’t what people would consider ‘a runner’,” she reflected. Years later, she would complete five half-marathons and find her passion for... Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
For Sean, choosing to be part of United Way of Long Island’s Team Mission United was one of the easiest decisions he’s made in his life. Not only is he involved with United Way of Long Island by helping to lead the employee giving campaign for his employer, Enterprise Rent A Car, he also already runs a number of races that benefit veterans. Best of all, he has the perfect person to cheer him on – his fiancé Kathy who was part of Team Mission United two years ago! In just three years of running, the sport has completely changed Sean’s life. “Four years ago I was overweight, living such an... Read more
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
For Lora to find inspiration, she doesn’t have to look far. Her daily motivator is her 10-year-old daughter Ava who has developmental special needs. “My daughter inspires me, because I see how many challenges she faces every day. Her learning disability affects every aspect of her life. Things that come naturally to other kids, she has to be taught how to do. But, she wakes up and goes to sleep every day with a smile on her face. Her attitude inspires me, and her determination,” said Lora.     After beginning her running career in her early 20s, Lora completed her first marathon at 25 years... Read more
Friday, July 27, 2018
Regina is a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor who has lost two husbands and two sons. Her third son Arnold, a grown man with several minor disabilities, lives with her and they take care of each other.   Regina and Arnold frequently attend holiday celebrations and movie nights at the Barry and Florence Friedberg Jewish Community Center. The Services to Adults and Senior Adults program, supported by United Way’s Long Island Impact Fund, allows Regina the opportunity to meet regularly with a social worker, and when Arnold is unable to drive her to the Center, a bus is sent to pick her up so that... Read more
Friday, July 27, 2018
Michael was diagnosed to be on the Autism Spectrum as a young child. At an early age, Michael was enrolled by his family into Developmental Disabilities Institute’s Starting Early Program, an initiative supported by United Way’s Long Island Impact Fund. Upon completion of the program, he successfully graduated into the mainstream educational program of his local school district. As a high school senior, Michael competed in the Para-Olympic Games in Brazil and won the Gold Medal for the 1,500 meter event. He has also been recognized as the first American with Autism to run under a four minute... Read more
Friday, July 27, 2018
John of Mastic Beach was unsure if he would have a home for the holidays this year. After Super Storm Sandy left his house uninhabitable, he did not know where to turn for help. After learning of John’s situation, United Way of Long Island took action to help, providing him with a trailer to live in while construction was completed on his home. John is able to stay on his own property, giving him a sense of comfort until his new house is built.   John writes:First I would like to thank you all from United Way for coming to my rescue. It’s been several years after being flooded from Hurricane... Read more
Friday, July 27, 2018
Meet Mary - a 9 year old girl with a bubbly personality and a participant in Choice for All’s Student Success Center, a program supported by United Way of Long Island. Mary’s mother was referred to the program by a community member that had a child in the program with similar academic concerns. Mary’s mom is a single mother of two with Mary being the youngest. She expressed concerns about Mary’s struggle with reading comprehension, decoding and spelling. She has to work two jobs because her eldest is on his way to college and she doesn’t have the extra time for Mary as she did with her first... Read more
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
United Way of Long Island's DREAMS for Youth Scholarship Program provides scholarships to deserving students so that they may achieve their academic dreams of continuing their education. Here is a reflection from scholarship recipient Toni of Southold, who feels like college is now her second home: I was honored to receive this scholarship to help me pursue my goals at Marist College. It has opened the door fo many opportunities I may not have found elsewhere. This scholarship has shown that I should believe in my future success and have confidence in myself because other people have, which... Read more
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
United Way of Long Island's DREAMS for Youth Scholarship Program provides scholarships to deserving students so that they may achieve their academic dreams of continuing their education. Here is a reflection from scholarship recipient Oscar of Brentwood, who is studying at Suffolk Community College with assistance from a Camilla G. Belser Memorial Scholarship. Hello, my name is Oscar and I had the honor of being selected as a recipient of the Camilla Belser Scholarship. This scholarship has not only helped me financially, but has also allowed me to focus on my school work. As a first... Read more

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