Heart of Illinois
United Way

Heart of Illinois United Way health work includes prevention, intervention and education, which lead to health and wellness.

Our Work in Health

Prevention, intervention and education lead to health and wellness

The Heart of Illinois United Way is focused on ensuring the people of central Illinois have access to quality, affordable health care. The health and well-being of our citizens is a strong indicator of the health of our community.

    United Way funds distributed to the Health Impact Area support programs focused on health education/prevention and health treatment/services, including:
  • Community Clinics
  • Physical Fitness
  • Home Health Care
  • Dental and Vision Care
  • Counseling
    United Way funded health programs provide . . .
  • Nutrition, physical fitness and substance abuse education that improve healthy choices
  • Medical, vision and oral health screenings and treatment that improve overall health
  • Mental health screenings and intervention that improve individual and family stability
    Here are just a few ways Heart of Illinois United Way funded programs are positively impacting health in central Illinois:
  • 99% of individuals in an emotional or personal crisis received community interventions for health and safety
  • 82% of youth increased their knowledge of healthy choices related to nutrition, risky behaviors, violence and safety
  • 94% of adults in nutrition and health education programs increased their knowledge about eating properly and exercising
  • 83% of adults in health treatment programs improved overall physical health
  • 100% of individuals who received STI education increased their knowledge and had testing
  • 85% of individuals who received counseling and mental health services improved
Keep Healthy Habits on Track

Keep Healthy Habits on Track

The number of children and teens who are overweight or obese has tripled since the 1970s due to lack of exercise and poor nutrition. These youth are more likely to miss school, have increased social-emotional needs and develop behavioral problems.

The Greater Peoria Family YMCA provides a fun and educational after school program that encourages children and youth to participate in a variety of physical activities and nutrition education that leads to healthier eating habits at home. One of the participants, Lucy, says the program has provided her with an opportunity to be physically active and knowledge of what food to eat. Her parents say she enjoys all the games they play and running around and having fun. In her first few months of the YMCA’s program, Lucy improved her knowledge of healthy choices from 76 to 90 percent and improved her physical fitness.

SMART CHOICES MAKE A PICTURE OF GOOD HEALTH

SMART CHOICES MAKE A PICTURE OF GOOD HEALTH

Health education teaches critical life skills that improve nutrition, increase exercise, and emphasize smart choices. The Heart of Illinois United Way invests more than $300,000 annually in programs that provide nutrition and fitness programs for children and adults. These in-school and community-based programs are easily accessible and improve our community's overall health and well-being.

At the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Peoria, their Healthy Habits program addresses hunger and healthy food choices with a two-fold approach. With many low-income children receiving meal assistance at school during the week or nutritious snacks afterschool, they are often left hungry over weekends. The Boys and Girls Clubs program ensures children and families are nourished each weekend by sending home nutritious, easy-to-fix meals while also providing opportunities for parents and children to learn how to select and prepare healthy food on a budget.

Caring for Each Other is a  Group Effort

Caring for Each Other is a Group Effort

The Heart of Illinois United Way funds individual, family and group counseling for at-risk individuals including programs at the Center for Youth and Family Solutions (above).  Our emotional, psychological, and social well-being affects how we handle stress, relate to others and make health and life-style  choices.  Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. 

Balanced Nutrition is a Recipe  for Better Health

Balanced Nutrition is a Recipe for Better Health

The Heart of Illinois United Way funds several programs that teach children and adults about better nutrition and how to make healthier choices. Suzy, an instructor at the Hult Center for Healthy Living, knows first-hand how important nutrition classes are for the community, area students and patients recovering from diseases such as cancer.  Learning about nutrition can help prevent disease, improve overall health and enhance quality of life for all ages.

For a complete list of United Way Funded Health-Related programs, click here.

United Way Health Programs at Work

To see United Way funded health programs at work visit our YouTube channel.

Did You Know?

1 in 4 children will be bullied  at school. Bullying affects the entire school including students who are  bullied, students who bully, and the witnesses or bystanders.

1 in 4 children will be bullied at school. Bullying affects the entire school including students who are bullied, students who bully, and the witnesses or bystanders. Students who are bullied can develop physical symptoms and are afraid to go to school or ride the bus. Bullying can cause them to lose interest in school, lower grades, and often leads to depression, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, and lashing out violently.

Did You Know? The Heart of Illinois United Way invests more than $540,000 annually to provide mental health education to students to address anxiety, bullying and depression that affect students’ grades.  Social and emotional skills must be supported before true academic success can occur and access to mental health education and counseling within the schools is key to such success.

If you give $7 a week, you can provide a 12-week anti-bullying course to one third grade student  to help him/her feel safe.  If you give $10 a week, you can provide one semester of weekly, individual counseling sessions to a middle-school student dealing with anxiety, depression, etc.

 

Untreated mental health issues  affect the entire family which can lead to violence, homelessness and decreased  self-reliance.

Untreated mental health issues affect the entire family which can lead to violence, homelessness and decreased self-reliance. One in four children is being raised by a single parent.

Did You Know? The Heart of Illinois United Way invests more than $545,000 annually in family counseling programs. Family therapy is one of the most cost-effective forms of psychotherapy and is important to a family's success. Through parenting support groups, supervised visitations, counseling, and case management, parents and children are improving their ability to support each other emotionally.

If you give $7 a week, you can help a family become stable and improve their relationships and home life through counseling and case management for issues such as separation or divorce, abandonment, anger or substance use.

 

School, especially middle  school, can be a difficult time for youth when it comes to behaviors that  result in life-long consequences. Health education goes beyond academics and  teaches critical life skills that improve nutrition, increase exercise, reduce substance abuse, lower stress and lessen risky behaviors.

School, especially middle school, can be a difficult time for youth when it comes to behaviors that result in life-long consequences. Health education goes beyond academics and teaches critical life skills that improve nutrition, increase exercise, reduce substance abuse, lower stress and lessen risky behaviors.

Did You Know? The Heart of Illinois United Way invests more than $300,000 annually in programs that provide nutrition and fitness programs for children and adults.  By promoting healthy eating, positive behavior choices and encouraging weight loss, these in-school and community-based programs are easily accessible and improve our community's overall health and well-being.

If you give $10 a week, you can provide vital health education related to risky behaviors, nutrition, hygiene, and mental health to students in one middle-school class.   If you give $3 a week, you can provide one student with a semester of afterschool physical fitness classes.