A Q&A with UWPC supported behavior specialist Patti Webb with PICCA Head Start

Patti Webb

At the United Way of Pickaway County, we believe education holds the key to opportunity for the county families we support.

From Big Brothers Big Sisters and the YMCA to PICCA Head Start and countless others, the UWPC prides itself in helping people do good things for kids. Today we examine the behavioral support services your donations help support at PICCA Head Start.

Annually, the PICCA Head Start preschool provides academic enrichment and kindergarten readiness programming for families in Circleville and Ashville. Of the 236 students enrolled last year, 78% came from families that fell below the poverty line. PICCA’s dedicated staff of early childhood specialists works with daily to develop school readiness routines and map out an individualized path to kindergarten for every student.

Of the 19 staff members affiliated with the school, the United Way of Pickaway County and its supporters provide funding for the services of one individual contracted through the Pickaway County Educational Service Center whose skill set and knowledge are invaluable in creating that kindergarten readiness plan in the form of county behavioral specialist Patti Webb.

Throughout the school year, Webb works with students and families to conduct behavior assessments that help guide skill development.

 “Behavior assessments for young children are often focused on helping the child foster self-regulation, learn new skills and use those new skills in a variety of settings,” said Webb. “A child who has the ability to regulate their behavior is proven to be more successful socially, emotionally, and academically. Often assessments and interventions that target a “behavior need,” result in improved academic functioning as well.” 

At the ages of 3-5, implementing a behavioral plan that helps students learn how to function in large groups for the first time at a scaled level specific to them. The assessments produced by Webb are then used once a student graduates on to elementary school where a kindergarten team use that information to continue services and supports that have previously been offered and improve upon them as the child grows.

To get a better idea on how Webb’s assessments, observations, and heart for helping children grow come into play at PICCA, we caught up with her for an informal Q&A.

  1. How important are routines when it comes to seeing desired student behaviors on a consistent basis?

Predictable and consistent routines, both at home and school, are the foundations of self- regulation and social emotional development.  When children know what to expect, their minds are calm and ready learn through play and social interactions.

     2. In your eyes, how important are supports for students at an early age in terms of the trajectory of their academic progress? 

CRITICAL!!  Self- regulation, or executive functioning, grows at its fastest rate between the ages of 2 and 5.  Research has established the importance of quality programming in the early years as crucial for later success in many areas: educational attainment, physical health, and other life outcomes.  This is why all of our county preschool programs, as well as Early Intervention are so important for the children of Pickaway County.

   3. How do the plans/assessments you and PICCA provide families foster informed decision-making in terms of their child’s future academic and social plans?  

The work of the entire PICCA staff; including teachers, assistants, home visitors, therapists, nurses, bus drivers, etc.  creates a partnership with families to support and prepare the children for their eventual school success. Behavior assessments that identify strengths and areas of need are one component of the support system for the child and family that ensures that when it’s time to transition to school age programming, the school districts have a full picture of the child’s abilities, and that information is useful in planning placement and supports in Kindergarten.   

     4. Talk about how the staff implements a child’s IEP/504 plans generally speaking and how PICCA is a partner in helping to see out a child’s every day growth on an individual level. 

Staff collect growth measures for every child at several points throughout the year and use that information to determine when more formalized supports are needed, then evaluations are completed to target the area(s) of need.  Students who qualify for special needs services receive specially designed instruction from licensed special education teachers and therapists and data is collected to determine growth on the goals written on the IEP/504 plan. This information is shared with parents regularly.  

      5. How vital are these plans for students to the elementary school they will be enrolling at once Kindergarten age to foster informed decision-making    regarding their transition to the elementary school setting?  

Staff in the elementary schools are able to use the information gathered in the assessment process, the IEP/504, and the progress data gathered to identify how those needs will be met in Kindergarten.  This information helps lay the groundwork for welcoming the child to Kindergarten- from identifying what teachers will support the child, what related services may by necessary such as Speech, OT, or PT, and how to support behavior needs.  

While the UWPC provides the funding that makes the vital work of Webb’s behavioral assessments possible, only a dedicated educator with the demeanor and love for helping others such as what she provides makes it a reality for families. This is one of our success stories as Webb touches the lives of countless children and families at PICCA each and every year.

On behalf of the United Way of Pickaway County, we are incredibly proud to partner with PICCA and Mrs. Webb and for their part in our shared mission to leave a strong footprint on early childhood education in our county.

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When schools close, YMCA’s Y Club remains open for working families

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Circleville – Subzero temperatures. High winds. Inches of snow. Old man winter has sure made itself known this January after a quiet December and along with it, school cancellations.

But for many working families, their place of employment rarely closes leaving parents and guardians in an early morning scramble for child care before they need to get out the door to safely navigate icy roads.

One community staple that is always open to families is that of United Way’s education partner program in the Y Club at the Pickaway County Family YMCA. Much like the mantra of your local mailman, “rain, sleet, snow, or hail” the Y Club: Before and Afterschool program is open throughout the school year regardless of what mother nature throws our way.

The Y Club is open to kids in grades Kindergarten through 6th grade and provides daily academic (homework) mentoring, counseling and enrichment (STEM activities), physical education, time for both structured and free play, and a nutritious snack is served to every child each morning and afternoon. On school cancellation days hours are extended and students receive lunch while at the program.

To find out more about the Y Club including hours, rates, and programming, visit their website (here) or call the Pickaway County Family YMCA today at (740) 477-1661.

Lending your talents: January is National Mentoring Month

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This year marks the fourth installment of National Mentoring Month (NMM) from mentoring.org. Nationally, “1 in 3 young people are growing up without a mentor
outside their family” adding up to 9 million young people without a mentor to help guide them throughout their life.

With mentoring, a lot of people do not know where to start or what one has to offer a student. Every one of us has a talent or skill we can offer in a mentorship capacity. You may be a great DIYer and can help give a high school student lifelong carpentry skills. Or maybe your passion is hiking. You may be just the person to lead a group of middle school students through the ins-and-outs of Old Man’s Cave.

Locally in Pickaway County, the United Way supports a number of education-based programs that afford prospective volunteers the chance to support a youth in need and build impactful friendships that transcend being a mentor. Consider getting in contact with one of these groups below. Following a mandated background check, even an hour of your time once a month can go a long way to mentor a child.

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Traditional Scouting – Simon Kenton Council
The Traditional Scouting Program in Pickaway County aims to directly impact lack of educational preparation, graduation rates and the ability of those served to transition from education success to work life success.


Contact: Susan Emerson

Boy Scouts of America Simon Kenton Council

807 Kinnear Rd. Columbus, OH 43212 614-436-7200 email: questions@skcsouts.org

Y Club: Before and After School program (Pickaway County Family YMCA)                    The Y-Club provides child care (latchkey services) to working families, especially single-parent households, enabling parents to maintain employment while their children are cared for in a professionally operated, safe and affordable program that runs before and after school. Operating in three of four public school districts in Pickaway County (Circleville City, Westfall Local and Teays Valley Local), local demographics support the need for this unique programming.

Contact: Lauren Vinkovich

Pickaway County Family YMCA 440 Nicholas Dr, Circleville, OH 43113

(740) 477-1661      email: lauren.vinkovich@ymcacolumbus.org

Summer Fun Club (Pickaway County Family YMCA)
The YMCA Summer Fun Club addresses the challenge of securing affordable, all-day, summer childcare for working families. The goal with the YMCA Summer Fun Club is to enable families to experience job stability and increase household income and family financial stability by providing day-long child care services that include learning and wellness opportunities for children five days a week in June, July and August.

Contact: Lauren Vinkovich

Pickaway County Family YMCA 440 Nicholas Dr, Circleville, OH 43113

(740) 477-1661      email: lauren.vinkovich@ymcacolumbus.org

School-based Mentoring (Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Ohio)
South Central Ohio Big Brothers’ Big Sisters’ School Based Programing provides mentoring and educational support by partnering with Westfall Local Schools in Pickaway County and Circleville City Schools to identify students who are at risk educationally and socially. This program assists them with improving social skills, self-confidence and academic achievement by increasing their school readiness and social development through mentoring. This program targets Middle School or Elementary Students (Mentees) with High School Students (Mentors) by matching them together in a Lunch Buddies Program to build confidence and self-esteem through mentorship and assist with things such as homework.

Contact: Julie DeCampp

South Central Ohio Big Brothers Big Sisters

173 West 2nd Street, Chillicothe, OH 45601

740-773-2447             email: julie.decamp@bbbssco.org

Community-Based Mentoring (Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Ohio)
Community-based Mentoring, an affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, matches caring adult mentors in individual relationships with children in need of adult friendship and guidance. The goal of an adult mentor is to be a resource, support system, confidante, friend, and role model to their Little Brother or Little Sister and to help them decrease the likelihood of engaging in high-risk behaviors. All mentors are required to make at least a one-year commitment.

Contact: Julie DeCampp

South Central Ohio Big Brothers Big Sisters

173 West 2nd Street, Chillicothe, OH 45601

740-773-2447             email: julie.decamp@bbbssco.org

Whatever your passion is. Share it. You have a lot to offer youth-based child development programs in your area or through your local faith-based organization. This National Mentoring Month we challenge you to donate your talents yes, but your time even more so. You could be just the agent of change your community is looking for.


Why Giving Tuesday serves as an medium for change

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Giving Tuesday takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving each year, immediately following Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

We have all heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but what about Giving Tuesday?

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.

“Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.


Created by the team at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y—a cultural center in New York City that, since 1874, has been bringing people together around the values of service and giving back—#GivingTuesday connects diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving.

A team of influencers and founding partners joined forces, collaborating across sectors, offering expertise and working tirelessly, to launch #GivingTuesday and have continued to shape, grow and strengthen the movement.” – givingtuesday.org

This coming Tuesday, November 27th marks the seventh year of the event, organized, promoted, and facilitated by social media from around the globe.

In today’s day and age, it seems our time, efforts, and discretionary income is stretched from now more than ever as we align those resources with convenience-based wants and needs such as our Netflix account, XM radio subscription, our coffee habits, and more.

#GivingTuesday is a reminder that within our immediate and national communities, there are larger worries for families such as where to sleep, how to get out of a domestic abuse situation, where our next meal is coming from, and how to afford opportunity for their children. Beyond the hash tag and social media push, #GivingTuesday is a communal calling to be a part of something bigger.

Here locally, the United Way of Pickaway County serves as the advocate on behalf of 16 different initiatives in the target impact areas of Health, Income support, Safety Net, and Education working in concert to leave a life altering  impact on our neighbors, friends, coworkers, and those in need.

UWPC Funded Initiatives 2018

The impact of these Pickaway County agencies is immeasurable. In 2017, the Haven House Domestic Violence Assistance Center assisted 336 victims of domestic violence of which 88% were placed in secure, long-term housing after their departure from the shelter. Regarding assistance with the elderly and mobility bound, the Pickaway Senior Center provided 101, 387 home delivered meals last year enabling families to support their loved one in remaining independent through the nutrition-based support.

These are just a few of our stories.

If it is within your means this holiday season, we encourage you to consider supporting these programs through pickuw.org. Whether it be recurring support through $1-5 per pay check or a one-time tax deductible give, your efforts create wakes across Pickaway County and give hope to those in need. No amount is too small in bringing positive change to our community.

This #GivingTuesday help us foster independence and opportunity across our community and consider joining us in our shared mission to invest hope back into the lives of those who need it.


Community Care Day 2018 Recap

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Ahead of the Circleville Pumpkin Show, students from all four Pickaway County High Schools – Westfall, Teays Valley, Circleville, and Logan Elm – came together with the United Way of Pickaway County for Community Care Day 2018.

Community Care Day has become a staple of the Pickaway County United Way in recent years as the organization’s flagship, service-based outreach initiative.

Spanning nearly 100 students and 11 sites across the county, students and volunteers took the idea of service learning to all new levels conducting residential and program partner cleanup, volunteering in preschool programs, yard work, and so much more!

See the slideshow below for a photo recap of the Community Care Day 2018! Many thanks to our event sponsors of Orchard View Farms,  Gant’s Pizza, Block’s Shoes, Circleville area Subway, Zanzi’s of Circleville, the Savings Bank, Pickaway County Banking Center (a member of the Vinton County Banking Family), and KNB who provided donations and food for student shirts meals.

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“United We Serve” event marks beginning of 2018 United Way Campaign for Pickaway County Chapter

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Westfall high school senior and United Way junior board member Aly Nunamaker addresses the event attendees at the 2018 ‘United We’ Serve event.

On Saturday, October 13th, the United Way of Pickaway County played host to more than 80 attendees at their inaugural ‘United We Serve’ dinner and 2018 campaign kickoff. 

Hosted at the Pavilion at Orchard View in Stoutsville, the event featured a preschool art gala comprised of submissions from United Way supported preschools, a catered dinner by PBJ catering of Ashville, junior board guest speaker Aly Nunamaker, board interim executive director Jama Cobb, emcee Jonathan Davis, and keynote speaker Mr. Steve Gary.

“Whatever the medium of support may be and by whatever means you feel compelled to do, it is my hope that we answer the call to “serve united” together,” said Cobb Saturday night. “As a collective, what is within our means however is this: A stronger Pickaway County is a calling and an investment we all have a stake in.”

As a non-profit entity, the United Way serves eight community partners in locally controlled impact areas of income, safety net, education, and health helping to fund their 16 different initiatives across Pickaway County. Each of these organizations takes this communal calling to heart each and every day to make Pickaway County a better place to live.

2018 Partner Programs and Initiatives

  • Alzheimer’s Respite Care and Meals on Wheels with the Pickaway Senior Center
  • Community based mentoring with South Central Ohio Big Brothers, Big Sisters
  • Domestic Violence Victim Advocacy and Transitional Housing with the Haven House
  • The Free Tax Clinic, Head Start Preschool Behavioral Support initiative, Homeless Prevention, and Wheels to Work programs from PICCA
  • The Summer Fun Club, Y Club: Before and after school care, and preschool of the Pickaway County Family YMCA
  • Traditional scouting with the Simon Kenton Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and,
  • The Emergency Clearinghouse Food Pantry.

Many thanks to the Gabriel Family of the Pavilion at Orchard View for hosting the event and for all of the event’s attendees for making the inaugural event a success.

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Emergency Clearinghouse Association feeds more than the hungry

Emergency Clearinghouse staff from left-to-right Mary Kay Wood, Michael Wagner, and Linda England are just a few of the friendly faces changing lives each and every day at the PICCA-based facility.

Monday through Friday on 469 E. Ohio Street, Mary Kay Wood, Michael  Wagner, Linda England, Mary Easter, and their dedicated team can be found providing nourishment for the masses.

The Emergency Clearinghouse Association firmly planted its roots in Pickaway County in the middle of 1981. The organization helped with many things such as rent assistance, food, utilities, transportation, and overnight lodging. At that time there were few places to go for individuals and families in need, so very quickly people began coming to the Emergency Clearinghouse for help.

Around 2005 the group shifted its focus away from most of the aforementioned supplemental supports to strictly focus on food – a central focal point in the lives of every family in the good times and bad.

When clients arrive at the Emergency Clearinghouse, they are given a clipboard in a staging area to fill out some documentation after furnishing a mandated state issued i.d. or utility bill with their address on it (i.d. only necessary for the homeless).

At that point, one by one they are assisted back into the pantry area where they are given the essentials – 12 eggs, l lb margarine, a package of cheese, soap, toiletries – in addition to an array of protein, grains, fruit and other supplies necessary for meal creation. Each household receives a  five day supply of food and can visit once per month. The organization is compliant with all USDA regulations in maintaining their food inventory.

In the month of August 2018 alone, the organization served 552 households, totaling 1,628 clients and 24,420 meals.

While these numbers reflect current trends at the food pantry, it was the story of one past Emergency Clearinghouse patron that particularly stood out to volunteer Linda England which came full circle in recent memory.

“A lady called us recently and said she would like to come in and volunteer,” said England. “When she came in she told our executive director (Mary Easter) ‘I know you do not remember me, but about 10 years ago I was going through a divorce and came in and you helped me and I have the time and I want to give back and volunteer.'”

Linda England and Mary Kay Wood walk United Way of Pickaway County (UWPC) trustees Nathan Anderson, Jama Cobb, Stacy Young and the rest of the board through recent updates at the Emergency Clearinghouse at the September UWPC board meeting. 

For Mary, Mary Kay, Linda, Michael and their selfless army of volunteers, this is just one of many success stories that has come full circle.

The Emergency Clearinghouse continues to be a beacon of hope for many in Pickaway County each and every day. Through the generous contributions of the local faith based community and businesses, individual donors, canned food drives, strategic planning in the form of exhaustive price shopping, and caring volunteers, the organization offers much more than just food assistance through their “people first” mentality.

The Emergency Clearinghouse Food Pantry is a Safety Net program partner proudly supported by the United Way of Pickaway County. The pantry is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1-4 p.m. and Thursday 1-6:30 p.m. and will be closed the week of October 15th for the Circleville Pumpkin Show.

To volunteer, donate canned goods and supplies, or support the pantry contact United Way board trustee and Emergency Clearinghouse United Way board liaison Kelsey Kohler at kkohler13@gmail.com or contact the organization directly at (740) 477-1655 ext. 263.

Pickaway County Family YMCA wraps up successful summer of programming

The Pickaway County YMCA Preschool opened its doors on the 2018-19 school year the week of August 13th and have 30 students enrolled to start the year. 

In recent weeks, United Way of Pickaway County (UWPC) partner Pickaway County Family YMCA Summer Fun Club capped off another successful summer campaign of youth-based programming.

From their summer free lunch program to the launch of “Super Tuesdays” in collaboration with Foundations4Youth and PICCA, it was a busy summer on Nicholas Drive in Circleville.

Over the summer months, the Y’s ‘Summer Fun Club’ averaged daily attendance of 75 children per day. Grounded in addressing the challenge of securing affordable, all-day, summer child care for working families, the club is in operation 12-hours a day, five days a week from June through the beginning of August. At the time of their initial funding application, nearly 70% of children served by the Pickaway County Family YMCA through this initiative came from families living at or near the poverty level.

An innovative new vehicle for summer fun this year, the YMCA, Pickaway County Community Action Organization (PICCA), and Foundations4Youth teamed up to provide kids with supervised programming, transportation from across town to and from the facility, and a free lunch for the day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. called “Super Tuesdays”. Programming ranged from swimming and team building games at the YMCA to video-gaming and pizza with Foundations4Youth in the evening. On average 45 kids took part in the Tuesday program throughout the summer.

While the Y’s summer programming has wrapped up in recent weeks, two other United Way initiatives in their Preschool and “Y Club: Before and After School Care” launched within the last week. Through the first week of the school year, the preschool program has 30 students enrolled and a third “Y Club: Before and After School Care” site has been opened in the Teays Valley Local School District at Ashville Elementary.

For more information all things Pickaway County YMCA visit ymcacolumbus.org/pickaway and consider supporting these impactful youth-based initiatives through the United Way.





United Way presents Emergency Clearinghouse with $1,109.75 donation

The United Way of Pickaway County (UWPC) has presented their safety partner program in the Emergency Clearinghouse Food Pantry with a second quarter campaign donation in the amount of $1,109.75.

Second quarter campaign contributions will assist the Emergency Clearinghouse Food Pantry in their continued efforts to provide food assistance to income-eligible households in Pickaway County. Campaign funds raised stem from the charitable efforts of local businesses and individual donors affiliated with the Pickaway County chapter of the United Way campaign.

Annually, the Emergency Clearinghouse offers nutritional supports to Pickaway County residents where 27.6% of the population has a household income 200% below the poverty level. At the time of their funding application, the organization had fulfilled 34,644 requests for food assistance from income eligible households.

In addition to addressing the short term needs of community residents, the Food Pantry also assists families with long-range planning in the form of recipe distribution and offers quarterly sessions on meal preparation and nutrition.


Haven House to open new location July 20th


United Way of Pickaway County safety net partner Haven House is set to open its new location Friday, July 20th with an Open House from 4-6 p.m.

The new location for Pickaway County’s women’s homeless and domestic violence center will be 111 Island Road in Circleville.

“We bought the building in November of 2016,” said Haven House Executive Director Lisa Johnson. “After purchasing the building we came in and cleared it out, cleaned it up, and then started construction.”

As the construction project and move from their previous location comes to a close in the coming weeks, Haven House will be able to offer temporary residency for up to 32 victims of domestic violence and their children and also provide them with a kitchenette, laundry room, and several gathering rooms for family activities and group/individual counseling.


“The building was a perfect fit for us,” said Johnson. [Our new home] was a former doctor’s office. Each one of the exam rooms is now a bedroom. There was some work that we needed to do, but now they are set up as just darling little bedrooms. At project completion we will have a full 32 beds with an additional 4-5 coming in August when we obtain access to the latter third of the building which is being leased out.”

Upon arrival at the new facility, families will receive a duffel bag of donated supplies to get them through their stay as they begin to work with a case manager to process the next steps for their family (pictured below).

From a safety standpoint, Haven House is going from an undisclosed location to a disclosed location – one that now puts it and its work and tenants in the public eye; however, located just minutes from the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office close to State Route 23, the new facility will now be more readily along regular deputy patrol routes in addition to its close proximity to Circleville City Police in town.

While the move for Haven House brings some new changes and opportunities into the fold in support of domestic violence victims, the organization’s philosophy remains unchanged as its staff and support network try to help victims get back on their feet.

“I believe people are born with a toolbox,” said Johnson. “No one, myself included, gets to pick where and how they were brought up to put tools in that toolbox. Our parents help us put tools in that toolbox and some of these people have never had one tool put in their box. That is what we try to do is put tools in their box and giving them the encouragement to do it is also key. There are some that say they cannot do it, but I know they can. There is nothing they cannot do if they put their mind to it. That is what we try to do is fill that toolbox with as many things as we can. When your toolbox is empty you cannot thrive, but when you start throwing those tools in there it is life changing.”

For more information on Haven House visit https://www.havenhouse1180.com/ or to support their initiative through volunteering or via financial means visit pickuw.org.