Niagara Gazette —
"When people say Carol is helping, it's only because I have a staff that is behind us, and volunteers," Houwaart-Diez said.
James Klyczek, president of Niagara County Community College, served as the honorary chair for the 2013 campaign. He said the successful campaign represents the dedication of the Niagara County community to people in need.
"Thanks to each of you for believing in the future of Niagara County, one that's bright and hopeful," Klyczek said.
Tracy Diina, a representative for Consumer Credit Counseling, said her agency would not have been able to expand into Niagara County without the help of the United Way.
"It was difficult to raise the money to do this," Diina said. "We knew what we wanted to do and it was a matter of obtaining the funding."
The agency, which helps people manage and pay down debt, was able to open a Niagara Falls office and is planning an office in Lockport, something that was only possible after partnering with United Way of Greater Niagara, Diina said.
"We could not have done this, we could not have created this economic empowerment coalition without the help of United Way of Greater Niagara," Diina said.
Gerald Smith, the program director for Niagara University's Niagara County Early Childhood Quality Improvement Project, also sang the praises of the charitable agency, saying the United Way was instrumental his group's work preparing young children for school.
"School readiness doesn't just begin at kindergarten," Smith said. "It really begins at birth."
United Way funding has helped the project purchase equipment, pay for professional development and will be used to expand programming over the next three years, Smith said.
"Really the United Way's mission of getting children ready for school, that's been our biggest goal," Smith said.
Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257