How the United Way has touched my life

By Melanie Yingst

This past Thursday, I attended the United Way of Troy’s annual campaign kick-off.

I’ve covered this event many times throughout my years here at the Troy Daily News.

Yet, it was listening to campaign co-chairman Earl Reives challenge attendees to pause and reflect on how the United Way of Troy has touched their lives.

So, I did what the co-chairman said and reflected on how the United Way of Troy has touched my life.

I thought way back when my grandfather was so very ill before he passed nearly 15 years ago. While I’d like to block out the horrors of cancer, I also recalled the toll it took on my grandmother Norma Jean. She was so tired and weary for caring for him round the clock. But I do remember when Hospice of Miami County stepped in to help in their home. That’s never any easy ordeal, but it eased the painful period in our lives as we prepared for the worse. Hospice nurses are angels on earth.

The United Way of Troy supports this amazing organization.

OK, fast forward to when this young mom was seeking dental services for her only child. I had just started here at TDN. I was between dental coverage as a new hire and Evan, age 4 at the time, had fell and smashed his face on a bookshelf. And, boy, did he hit hard. While no immediate harm was done, my motherly instinct needed to double check that there wasn’t any trauma done to his gums, which looked like they were beginning to bruise. It can’t be good when your kid’s gums turn blue.

And, there’s one thing for sure, dental issues do not get better with time.

I frantically called around to a few dentists to see what they could do, but the estimates were so hefty out of pocket. I couldn’t fathom how I could afford to cover it. I remember plain as day how my dental coverage would kick in three weeks later, but I couldn’t wait that long to find out if there was going to be permanent damage. It’s an awful feeling, folks.

A co-worker suggested I take him to the Miami County Dental Clinic, which was new to the area at the time. I got Evan in the door later that day. A wonderful and kind dentist checked his gums for damage (as he screamed with rubber gloved hands in his mouth) and reassured me that no harm was done.

I think I paid $40 to ease my mind, which was significantly lower than the estimates I had received on the phone. It truly was a blessing nearly 10 years ago. My dental coverage kicked in weeks later, but you know nothing ever happens when you are covered right?

The Miami County Dental Clinic is also supported by the United Way of Troy.

And as Evan got a little older, I dumped him off at the Heywood playground each afternoon in the summers. Oh, he wasn’t unsupervised. The Troy Playground Association kept him occupied all summer long. I enjoyed the high school and college students who ran the program. Watching children outside in the heat of the day builds character! This program was also near to my heart knowing Evan was outside playing while I was at work and not cooped up at a daycare center. The United Way of Troy also supports this amazing program.

And just last year, my son received his immunizations to start seventh grade at the Miami County Health District. What mom takes photos of their kids getting their shots? Well, when your mother is a news reporter, there isn’t a whole lot of choice.

Those mandated shots were only $10. The Miami County Health District is supported by the United Way of Troy.

I also have many friends whom I urged to sign up for the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library so their kids could receive free books every month from birth until they are 5. This program through the Troy-Miami County Library is one of my personal favorites. I wished I had this when Evan was little. I love seeing friends’ social media posts showing how their kids got a new book that month. There is one thing I am passionate about and that’s early childhood literacy. This program brings books to the front doors of families. I love me some Dolly Parton, folks. This program is also supported by the United Way of Troy.

In 24 hours I was able to come up with five programs off the top of my head which our community supports with generous donations to the United Way of Troy. Your donation stays right here in Troy and supports these great agencies who are there when and if you or your family should need them.

I hope you’ll join me in donating to this wonderful cause.

If you are interested in learning more about Troy’s United Way agencies or how to become a businesses partner or donor, contact Executive Richard Bender at (937) 335-8410.

To donate online or to sign-up for a payroll deduction, visit A little goes a long way.

By Melanie Yingst

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. Live United.

“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. Live United.