Sherman Charities Hope For United Way Funds - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Sherman Charities Hope For United Way Funds

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SHERMAN, TX -- Charity organizers flocked to the United Way of Grayson County to find out how to apply for funds for the next two years, as a new funding cycle for grants to help those in need is set to begin soon.

For a couple dozen different charities, the United Way provides at least a small part of the funds they need to stay running. We spoke with a woman who says one of those charities is helping her rebuild her life.

At Four Rivers Outreach on South Rusk Street, the hope for a fresh start helps draw dozens of people every day to a place described as a "sober living environment."

"Four Rivers took me in when I told them the problem and I've been here for about two months now," says Jo Ann Harris.

Harris says she is moving past a problem with methamphetamine, and has now been clean for six years. After recently getting out of prison, she says Four Rivers Outreach has become her rock.

"It helps to know that you do have a family that does care and that there are people here that do want you to do good, and do want to see you succeed in life," Harris says.

To help keep its doors open, Four Rivers Outreach relies on money from the United Way, where non-profit leaders went on Wednesday morning to learn how to apply for their share of about $900,000 per year in funding.

"It's about a six month process," says United Way president David Cortinas. "We start now and people will apply, and there's certain phases in which they apply."

A total of 14 agencies showed up for the meeting and the United Way expects about 30 to apply for the two-year funding cycle. They have also selected a special focus area of healthcare when directing their funds to agencies.

"Any agency can apply for funds for that particular initiative in addition to their usual source of funding," says Habitat For Humanity director Laurie Mealy.

Four years ago, a focus on drug abuse helped Four Rivers, which has been open since 2006, get a four-year grant at $50,000 per year that is soon to run out. This time, they hope to get something to help their mission.

"It's very fulfilling for us," says Four Rivers Outreach career center director Patrick Brookins. "We love to see people on a recovery track that actually become better people."

Harris says she has been going to classes they have at the center, and just started a new job. "It's hard at times, but you've got loving people here that do help you," says Harris.

Back at the United Way, volunteers will meet in the upcoming months to decide which of all the programs are the most worthy to fund and how much. This United Way funding cycle will run through the summer of 2015.

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