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Stories

Hope Woford

Hope Woford overcame tough obstacles as a child in the foster care system and is now dedicated to helping other foster children in Greenville County through United Way partner Fostering Great Ideas.

"These kids need an extra hand,” she says. "We can't just sit back and assume that something's going to happen or wait for someone else to do it. United Way takes that step to better these children's lives."

Kady Jacobs

Life was good for Kady Jacobs. With an education, a career and a supportive church community, she never thought she would be the one needing help. However, one day her life was shattered. The worst part? It was the love of her life that caused the pain.

Overwhelmed with feelings of depression, she and her son didn’t know where to turn. They found the support they needed to begin the healing process thanks to United Way and the Julie Valentine Center.

Lamont Sullivan

Growing up in the City Heights neighborhood 30 years ago, Lamont Sullivan could have gone down a different path. 

Instead, as the youngest of six children, Lamont became the first in his family to graduate college. He credits United Way of Greenville County and its donors for helping him succeed.

“When I think about the United Way, it has really impacted my life full-circle,” he said. “I truly consider myself the United Way story.”

Holly Gonzalez

Six years ago, Holly Gonzalez came to Greenville to recover from addiction with just two duffle bags in hand.

In order to make ends meet, she began working a minimum-wage fast food job, but as a young woman who once had a scholarship to Francis Marion University, she craved more. She knew she had potential.

It was when she became a mother to Carmen that she knew it was time to make a change.

“I knew I was intelligent enough and had the drive to do something better and I wanted to make her proud,” said Holly. “I just needed a little push, a little bit of help.”

Brad Nivens

Brad Nivens is proud to say he has overcome his drug addiction and has been clean for five years. However, he still faces many challenges.

As a single father with two autistic sons, Brad has been longing for a safe and secure place his family could call home.

Isaac and Rommel

During his adolescent years, Isaac needed someone to look up to. As someone who experienced a challenging upbringing, there was nothing more he wanted than someone to have fun with — someone to bring him out of his shell.

Enter the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

Through United Way’s partners at Big Brothers Big Sisters, Isaac was partnered with Rommel who was seeking a way to get involved and give back.

A Mother Building Her Cycle of Success

Jennifer Calandra is a mother and military veteran who overcame poverty and homelessness to build a safe and stable life for herself and her two precious children.

Two years ago, Jennifer and her family were living in what she describes as a violent neighborhood when a stray bullet flew through the wall of her daughter’s room. “Had we been home, my daughter might not be alive,” she said.

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