Seventeen percent of our local eighth-graders have made a plan regarding suicide. Of those who make a plan, 71 percent will attempt it. Every year, we lose children in our region to suicide and many others need better access to mental health services. As a parent myself and family member and friend to many other parents, the likelihood that some of our children will fall into these categories compels me to want to make a meaningful difference.

As with anything that pulls on my heartstrings, my availability to support important causes must get in line with all my other obligations. Many of us are in this situation. We are fortunate enough to have the means to help, but between family, work, and volunteer time, our efforts are often spread too thin to make lasting impact.

We throw random darts at the greater good in an attempt to do something.

Supporting United Way of North Central Iowa offers a better way. As an organization with the power to collectively leverage the time and contributions of our entire community, it empowers anyone to be part of making a real and lasting difference. Far more than we could ever do individually.

As a board member, I encourage you to recognize United Way as a year-round community agency. You may come into contact with us every 12 months during campaign, but the daily work of this organization involves conducting community conversations, making connections with agencies, and gaining a comprehensive understanding of the most pressing local needs and gaps in services.

Please consider donating your time or talent to United Way and be part of measurable community impact. Many darts and focused targets means landing more bulls-eyes in helping children and adults in North Iowa.

Kristy Sagdalen King, Clear Lake

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