Routt County United Way board members to speak at First Friday Artwalk |

Routt County United Way board members to speak at First Friday Artwalk

— In the digital age, connecting with someone on a personal level sometimes can be a challenge.

Recognizing this notion, Routt County United Way has come up with a solution.

As a nonprofit dedicated to providing necessary resources to advance community impacts, the organization's intentions are to share touching stories face to face with the community to truly illustrate how United Way has changed an individual's life.

"Some people don't really understand what their donation does," said Kate Nowak, the executive director of Routt County United Way. "But these stories help bring unique perspectives from the volunteers, and they will tell it with their own passion. It's really a neat way for the community to understand what's going on."

For this month's First Friday Artwalk, five board members will present their stories from 5 to 7 p.m. at five locations. Those locations include Colorado Group Realty with Nikki Knoebel, Steamboat Springs Center for Visual Arts with Catherine Carson, Harwigs/L’Apogee with Greg Pohlman, the Depot Art Center with Kate Nowak and Urbane with Debbie Wright.

"I personally believe in neighbors helping neighbors," said Linda Laughlin, the executive director for the Center for Visual Arts. "It's a good gesture for the arts community to be able to help a nonprofit service that helps everyday people in Routt County."

With more than 30 partner agencies, Routt County United Way works to fulfill its mission to inspire, lead and unite ideas and resources for the advancement of the overall well-being of the community. A few of those agencies include Advocates Building Peaceful Communities, Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs, Integrated Community, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, LIFT-UP of Routt County and more.

With the discussions taking place Friday, the organization hopes to give the community insight as to how those agencies fall under the umbrella of United Way. In addition, these individuals will represent the volunteer base involved with United Way who dedicated their time and effort to help make a difference in someone's life.

"I liken Routt County United Way to being a mother with her arms around the whole community," said Nancy Mucklow, Routt County United Way board member. "We have a pulse on all the things that are happening and hope to make an impact in the community."

Mucklow sees the event as an opportunity to show the community how they can get involved with Routt County United Way in more ways than just providing a donation.

"We hope that people will know more about what we do and give in any way that they can," Mucklow said. "We are so thankful that we live in such a giving community with people who have such a heart for these things."

The official timeframe for Routt County United Way's campaign started Sept. 15 and continues until Nov. 15. Funding priorities include core funding for crisis intervention programs and community impact funding areas. This includes helping at-risk youths and providing affordable, high-quality early childhood education and child care.

"We hope everyone will get out there and enjoy the art that is available to view and also learn about people in the community and all of the great work United Way and the agencies are doing so they have a greater level of awareness of the good work happening here," Nowak said.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1