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United Way 2018 Kickoff Series! Tuesday, September 11 & Wednesday, September 12 Presented by BancorpSouth & Ewing Timber, LLC

On Tuesday, September 11 and Wednesday, September 12, United Way of Northeast Louisiana leadership, volunteers, donors, supporters, and partners celebrated collaboration, community impact, and the power of volunteerism at the 2018 United Way Kickoff Series, presented by BancorpSouth and Ewing Timber, LLC.

United Way Kickoff Series events were held in three area parks to mark the special community debut of the United Way Born Learning Trails at Charles Johnson Park in Monroe, Greenwood Park in Ruston, and Kiroli Park in West Monroe, installed earlier this year by community volunteers during United Way's inaugural Day of Action event held on June 28 - 29, 2018.

The United Way Born Learning Trail is a series of 10 interactive signs that offer fun learning activities for young children and their families to help boost language, reading, problem solving, and critical thinking skills, inspire parents and caregivers to create quality engagement opportunities with their children, and promote physical activity in a fun, interactive way.

Guests of the 2018 United Way Kickoff Series also celebrated the generosity of 2018 United Way Pacesetter Campaigns--companies that "set the pace" for the annual United Way Campaign, which provides funding and support for community services and initiatives that address issues related to improving the education, financial stability, and health of every person in our community.

THANK YOU to our 2018 Pacesetters: BancorpSouth, Dillard's, Durrett Law & Title, Foster Farms, Monroe City Schools, and Ouachita Parish Clerk of Court.

2018 United Way of Northeast Louisiana Pacesetter Campaigns

The 2018 United Way Kickoff Series was presented by BancorpSouth & Ewing Timber, LLC.

Supporting Sponsors of the 2018 United Way Kickoff Series were Chick-Fil-A, Chick-fil-A Ruston, Children's Coalition for Northeast Louisiana, City of Monroe, City of Ruston, City of West Monroe, Hunt Forest Products Inc, Lincoln Parish Schools ACHIEVE, Monroe Chamber of Commerce, Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union, Reeves, Coon & Funderburg, Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, The Lincoln Agency, Thomas & Farr Insurance Agency, Inc., and West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce.

United Way of Northeast Louisiana 2018 Kickoff Series Presented by BancorpSouth & Ewing Timber, LLC

Tuesday, September 11 & Wednesday, September 12, 2018

2018 United Way Board Chair Blake Wheelis, Blake Wheelis State Farm Insurance Agency, Inc. welcomes guests to the first of three community Kickoff events at Greenwood Park in Ruston on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.

Brandon Ewing, 2018 Jackson-Lincoln-Union Parish Campaign Chair, Ewing Timber Company, LLC and Michelle Tolar, United Way Director of Development announce the incredible generosity of the 2018 United Way Pacesetter Campaigns: BancorpSouth, Dillard's, Durrett Law & Title, Foster Farms, Monroe City Schools, and Ouachita Parish Clerk of Court.

(From left) Kourtney Keim, City of Ruston; Cathi Cox-Boniol, Lincoln Parish Schools; and Richie LeBlanc, Hunt Forest Products, LLC share their experience installing the United Way Born Learning Trail at Greenwood Park. These three giving organizations partnered on the Born Learning project earlier this year for United Way's inaugural Day of Action, which took place in the park June 29.

Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker welcomes children from the Lincoln Parish Early Childhood Center (LPECC) to test out the brand new United Way Born Learning Trail at Greenwood Park.

From Left: Janet Durden, President of United Way of Northeast Louisiana; Brandon Ewing, Ewing Timber Company, LLC & 2018 Jackson-Lincoln-Union Campaign Chair; Blake Wheelis, Blake Wheelis State Farm Insurance Agency, Inc. & 2018 United Way Board Chair; Stephanie Smith, Ouachita Parish Tax Assessor's Office & 2018 Campaign Co-Chair; Michelle Tolar, United Way of Northeast Louisiana Director of Development; Ronny Walker, Mayor of Ruston, Louisiana; Nat Smith, BancorpSouth & 2018 United Way Campaign Co-Chair; Kourtney Keim, City of Ruston

United Way 2018 Kickoff Series: Wednesday, September 12, 2018

United Way's second of three Kickoff was held at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoos Pavilion, provided courtesy of the City of Monroe, across from the United Way Born Learning Trail at Charles Johnson Park in Monroe. Inclement weather may have rained out original plans to cut the ribbon at the Born Learning Trail site, but it did not put a damper on the mood of the sponsors, volunteers, and community supporters who came out to celebrate the new addition to the park.

Stephanie (far left) and Nat Smith, Ouachita Parish Tax Assessor's Office/BancorpSouth and 2018 United Way Campaign Co-Chairs, and Michelle Tolar, United Way Director of Development recognize the 2018 Pacesetter Campaigns.

Rod Washington, City of Monroe & 2018 United Way Board of Directors and Campaign Cabinet (left) and Ernest Finch, Thomas & Farr Insurance Agency, Inc., 2018 Board of Directors and VolunteerUNITED Chair express their excitement in participating in and sponsoring the first ever United Way Day of Action, which took place in Charles Johnson Park on June 28, 2018.

Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo and Sue Nicholson, President of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, were there to introduce the United Way Born Learning Trail to the Monroe community.

United Way of Northeast Louisiana 2018 Kickoff Series Conclusion: Kiroli Park, Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Allie and River McTurner of Monroe were excited to give the new United Way Born Learning Trail at Kiroli Park a whirl!

Doug Seegers, City of West Monroe and Jessica LeDoux, Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union, both sponsors of the United Way Born Learning Trail at Kiroli Park, shared their United Way Day of Action volunteer experience with guests of the third and final Kickoff event in the 2018 Kickoff Series.

"We are NOT painters," Jessica LeDoux of Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union said with a chuckle when describing her team's experience installing the Trail earlier this year, "but we had so much fun working together."

Lila Strode (left), President of the West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce, and Courtney Hornsby, City of West Monroe, hosted the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the United Way Born Learning Trail at Kiroli Park on Wednesday, September 12, 2018.

Parker Milam's reaction to the new United Way Born Learning Trail at Kiroli Park accurately depicts our excitement to partner with these amazing organizations and their dedicated employee volunteers to bring this project to life in Northeast Louisiana!

If you're interested in sponsoring a United Way Born Learning Trail in our community, or would like information on how United Way VolunteerUNITED can help your organization meet its volunteer goals and passions, call United Way 2-1-1 to speak to a VolunteerUNITED Community Engagement Manager, OR visit unitedwaynela.org/volunteer to sign up NOW for these and other volunteer opportunities.

To see more from 2018 United Way Day of Action, check out our 2018 Campaign video below!

#UnitedWeFight #UnitedWeWin #LIVEUNITED

Credits:

Copyright 2018, United Way of Northeast Louisiana

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