October 27, 2017

United Way helping the Purdue community: Annette Brown's story

Annette Brown Annette Brown, diversity outreach project manager in the Division of Diversity and Inclusion. (Purdue University photo/Rebecca Wilcox) Download image

This week, Purdue Today will offer profiles on Purdue community members who have benefited from United Way agencies. Today, Annette Brown, diversity outreach project manager in the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, shares her story about how the Hanna Community Center summer program was a perfect fit for her daughter, Jocelyn.

How long have you worked at Purdue?

12 years.

Which United Way service/agency did you work with? 

Hanna Community Center.

What led you to using the agency? 

When I first moved to Lafayette, I brought my 9-year-old daughter, Jocelyn, with me. In trying to figure out what I was going to do with her in the summer while I worked, I was looking around for a summer program to enroll her in. 

How did you find out about the service? How did you benefit?  

I met a woman in McDonald's and was talking to her about it, and she told me to take her to the Hanna Community Center. I took Jocelyn on a visit to the center and found it to be a place where she would fit in, be nurtured, involved in some educational and engaging activities and exposed to Purdue students who served as volunteers. My relationship with Hanna grew from my being a parent of one of the children in their program to many roles on the board of directors including president. 

What would you like to tell someone who is considering reaching out to a United Way agency?

I would share with the person my experience. In the '90s, I worked for the United Way of Macon County in Illinois as the director of information and referral services. In this role, I connected persons who were in need to United Way agencies that could potentially help them. Fast forward a few years, and I had a daughter. When it was time for her to go to preschool, it was a United Way-funded agency. So, now I’m no longer a provider, but I’m also a recipient. A few years later, my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She eventually had to go to adult day care -- another United Way-funded agency, and I’m a recipient for the second time. 

What I would say to the individual is that donating and supporting the United Way is one way to give back to and support the community and those persons who are less fortunate than the majority of us. It’s rewarding to know that no matter how large or small my financial gift or how much time I am able to spend volunteering, it benefits the community and puts a smile on the face of someone in need as well as gives them hope. At the end of my day, it’s an investment well worth it. On the other side of the coin is that each of us is only one situation away from needing help and we don’t know if or when that time may come.

Do you volunteer with the Purdue United Way Campaign or with a UW agency now?

I also support the YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter, Food Finders and Read to Succeed.


* The Purdue United Way Campaign runs through Nov. 15 with the goal of raising $785,000 for local agencies in need. A link to donate as well as more information can be found on the Purdue United Way website. Questions about the campaign can be directed to Megan Dale, Purdue United Way director, at dale12@purdue.edu or 765-494-9240.

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