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Stories

Monday, May 20, 2019
RomannVetsBuild Alumni, Class of 2013Petty Officer 2nd Class, US Navy Veteran; US Navy ReservesCurrent Occupation: Program Analyst, US Dept. of Veterans Affairs Romann served two tours, totaling seven years, in the U.S. Navy – one world tour and one West Pacific tour – before entering the U.S. Navy Reserves and serving an additional tour in Kuwait. Having traveled the world at sea, Romann was accustomed to spending limited time with his family. However, during his deployment, Romann’s wife gave birth to their firstborn. Being away for the birth and infancy of his daughter was heartbreaking,... Read more
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Jeffrey  PFC US Army Veteran, Military Police Corp, 561st Military Police Company, Fort Meyer, VA 1981-84Occupation: Medical Supply Technician  A native Long Islander, Jeffrey left Sayville, New York for Fort Meyer, Virginia when he joined the US Army. Jeffrey returned to Long Island and cared for his elderly grandmother. Finances were tight, but upon his grandmother’s passing, Jeffrey was left without a permanent home for five years. He was fortunate to stay with friends for extended periods of time, but it was not a way to live comfortably. Jeffrey’s lifestyle was taxing on his mental... Read more
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Kristyne is an ambitious young woman who aspires to her future career as a neuropsychologist. As a United Way of Long Island DREAMS for Youth Scholarship recipient, she is working toward making her dream a reality.   Kristyne is an old soul, wise beyond her years. Although going through an extreme hardship in her life, she has continued to persist and work hard through her studies and volunteerism. As a survivor of abuse at the hands of a close family member, she was carrying a burden that no one at any age should carry. She didn't let this destroy her and ultimately found her voice. Kristyne... Read more
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
When Blair found YouthBuild Long Island, he was struggling to find a place for himself. At the age of 25, he had been volunteering with local organizations, trying to give back to his hometown of Uniondale, but wanted to do more. “I didn’t really know where I wanted to go in life,” he remembers. “Everything I was doing wasn’t totally fulfilling, I wanted to reach out and help people… that was my passion.”   When his father told him about YouthBuild, he recognized the rare opportunity that had been presented to him – the chance to change his life and be in a position to help others. It was the... Read more
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Meshessna of Freeport is a single mother of two daughters, doing the best she can to retain a sense of normalcy after her divorce two years ago. “I want my kids to be able to stay in their same school, still be close to their friends, live as close to the same life they were living before the divorce,” she explained. But maintaining this life proved difficult, as now she was managing her household with only a single salary. “While I was married, with two incomes, I didn’t really struggle to pay my bills. Now that I’m a single mother, with only one household income, it’s more challenging to... Read more
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

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