The United Way of Santa Rosa County wants to help the residents and to do that they are stressing "Jobs" in this year's campaign.
"You could hire a tremendous workforce out of the people we are seeing coming here today for help," said Kyle Holley, Campaign Director for the United Way of Santa Rosa County. "Today we absolutely have a new face to the people who need the United Way."
While the program will continue to strive for donations to help the 20 or so charities and organizations throughout Santa Rosa County, they
are also going to focus on its common energy - depression.
"Depression is a situational issue on a large scale here across Santa Rosa County because of jobs and the lack there of," Holley said. "One of the best ways United Way can help the community is to respond to those needs and we have the latitude to do that."
Currently they are focusing on things like education with its efforts involving the Early Learning Coalition and Cram the Van and health when it comes to the Santa Rosa Community Clinic and the Good Samaritan Health, but they are going even further in trying to help people with income stability.
"In the past we have worked with banks to help people to budget their money, but unfortunately these people don't have any money to budget," Holley said. "So we are looking to work with third, fourth, and fifth graders to teach them about budgeting.
"The biggest thing we are working on with this campaign is to advocate."
Holley talked about the many seasonal jobs or those based on tourism as an area that needs focus.
"If we find a way to help grow industry and jobs them the people will feel better and they might volunteer or become a donor," Holley said. "But we have to stop the cycle we have when it comes to tourism.
"It's common sense when you think about the waitress or cleaning staff that is laid off or their hours are cut because of the off season."
Holley pointed out the county needed to find a way to promote the state forest and the beaches even in the off-season.
"These are two big areas to promote that the banks can't take away," Holley said. "With this in mind we want to extend the term of the so-called 'seasonal' job."
Saturday the United Way of Santa Rosa County will kick off its 2012 campaign at Tiger Point Golf Club from 7 - 9 p.m.
They are also participating in supporting the Navarre Beach Golf Festival being held at The Club at Hidden Creek and at Tiger Point Golf Club.
To obtain a card for this event Oct. 20 and Oct. 21 you can call 623-4507.
"One of the areas we are looking at is golf," Holley said. "We have awesome golf courses here and when people come to play golf they stay in hotels and eat at area restaurants.
"They sort of feed off each other."
Holley pointed out in Santa Rosa County this past July bed taxes were up 40-percent locally while Escambia saw a 20 percent increase and Okaloosa County saw a two percentage point increase.
"We grew our market share and it benefited those who depend on tourism," Holley said. "That is part of our purpose of this campaign, because these are the faces we are seeing today."
According to Holley this is not just a northern or southern concern, but also an overall Santa Rosa County concern affecting all parts of the county as a whole.
The chamber will also work with volunteers to help them improve skill sets and polish the existing skills they have through programs with agencies like Workforce EscaRosa.
Last year the United Way of Santa Rosa County exceeded its goal of $300,000 in the annual campaign and has set a goal for this year of $350,000.
United Way to promote jobs
Oct 16, 2012 at 12:01 AM Oct 16, 2012 at 1:40 PM