407-823-3094 LiveUnited@ucf.edu

By Crystal Colvenbach |

The United Way Day of Caring is an annual event in September engaging businesses and other professional teams in volunteer service around central Florida.   The UCF United Way Advocate team participated in the 2015 event by serving at the BETA Center.  To learn more about the BETA Center, visit http://www.BETACenter.org.

On Sept. 25, a small group of UCF volunteers met at the BETA Center to participate in the 2015 United Way Day of Caring. The volunteers spent the morning as cuddlers and playmates to the infants and toddlers at the childcare center, and afterwards received a tour of the facility by a dedicated staff member who has been with the center for over 20 years.

The BETA Center’s mission is “to provide children and parents with the knowledge and support needed for strong and healthy families.” One of the ways that the center supports children and parents is through the Pregnant & Parenting Teen Program. An important feature of this program is the BETA Alternative Middle/High School, created by the BETA Center in collaboration with Orange County Public Schools. The program provides a way for young women to continue their schooling in a safe and nonjudgmental environment while their children are being cared for in the childcare center. In addition to academics and childcare, the program also provides prenatal and parenting education, counseling, life-skills, and career preparation.

UCF Volunteers learned that the center not only helps teen mothers and their children, but also helps families in crisis who may walk in with a need for food, formula, diapers or information on services available to them. Afterward, some of the volunteers shared their thoughts about the day spent at the BETA Center:

“I got to interact and play with the Younger Toddler group. We went to recess for majority of our visit and playing with the kids outdoors while mastering their motor skills was a lot of fun. It solidify just how important agencies such as the BETA center are to our community and why giving and volunteering is so important.” Crystal Colvenbach, UCF Health Student Services

“I have always supported the United Way through fundraising and payroll deduction. However, I felt more connected by actually doing something and helping out. I enjoyed and felt like I was really making a difference. Personally, I would like to contribute more to help the facility. A couple of things that they need are diapers and infant formula. I’m going to try and donate these items at least once a month.” Aida Salazar, UCF Facilities and Safety

“…the most memorable moment for me came at the end of our tour of the facility, and our tour guide revealed that she had graduated from the Teen Program many years ago. I was impressed and touched by the fact that she believed in the program so strongly that she returned to work for the BETA Center.” Joanie Reynolds, UCF Libraries

BETA 9-25-15

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Special thanks to all of our United Way Advocates who participated in Day of Caring projects this year.  Members of our campaign team represented UCF at the BETA Center, the Osceola Center for Aging, and the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.

We’re already looking forward to next year!!