Robin Ritter wants to give people a chance to make a difference.
So the founder of Uniquely Yours Stability Support and her team is launching the first Fremont Community Charity Competition.
The event is designed to challenge area groups, businesses and individuals to develop fundraisers that will benefit UYSS, a local, non-profit organization.
Trophies and plaques will be awarded to those that raise the largest amount in their category. Teams and individuals will be honored during a communitywide appreciation event.
“Our goal is to raise $25,000 by the end of 2015 as a result of this annual fund campaign,” said Ritter, chief executive officer.
Uniquely Yours at 240 N. Main St. in Fremont is an agency designed to prevent homelessness — or to help people move out of homelessness — and get families on the road to permanent stability.
“It is much more cost effective to keep a family in their home versus the decline into homelessness,” Ritter said.
Many families are one paycheck or disaster away from homelessness. So when a hardship — such as a car breaking down — occurs, their ability to remain in their home may be threatened.
They might seek help from a local agency, only to find they don’t qualify for assistance.
Uniquely Yours works with other agencies to fill in gaps in services or funds.
It works with area businesses, such as mechanics and dentists, to help clients find solutions.
UYSS offers other services such as clothing for job interviews; life skills classes, a computer lab and help in learning to use a computer.
“We have a minimum of 80-plus families and individuals that come through our doors each month, looking either for our services or connections to our other community agencies,” said Arletta Bechtold, a community resource navigator.
Bechtold said she’s seen families leave UYSS with solutions through collaborative community efforts, who then sign up for life skills workshops or classes.
Ritter launched Uniquely Yours in 2007 and had ideas for a community charity competition years ago.
After the agency opened its downtown Fremont office in May 2014, many people have asked how they can help be part of the Uniquely Yours mission — and the idea of a competition was revisited.
“We thought it would be a great, fun way to engage the entire community,” Ritter said. “The climate in the air is perfect. Because of the coalition with the United Way and agencies and businesses are working together for the common good, we thought the timing was perfect.”
There are 12 competition categories which are: entertainment (such as local taverns or bands); media; restaurant/food industry; small businesses; large businesses; corporate; sports; organizations/clubs/groups; schools/education; health providers; religious community/churches and independent/individual.
Those interested in a communitywide fundraiser can compete in their particular category. Participants have from now until the end of this year to decide what type of fundraiser they want to have and when they want to host it.
For instance, a group may want to have a car wash in May.
“They would just reach out to us. We would provide the support that they needed, any guidance, suggestions. We would be at the event, then we’d log their information and the money they were able to raise,” Ritter said.
The charity competition ends Dec. 31. Uniquely Yours will calculate the information.
“We will have a large acknowledgement event for everyone who participated,” Ritter said. “It will be a fun event.”
Groups and individuals will be recognized. Every fundraiser and the winner in each category will be acknowledged.
Besides awards being presented for the most raised per category, there will be a large traveling trophy for the most overall funds raised. The agency also will present the Bergh Benevolence Award to a generous individual.
“We already had one participant that is giving 50 percent of their personal income to Uniquely Yours and their last name is Bergh. So in honor of them that will always be a category,” Ritter said.
The idea behind this award is to honor someone who makes a contribution that is truly significant for the individual or group, said Heather Evans, a community resource navigator.
“So a smaller amount from someone with a lower overall income would still fall in that category,” Evans said.
Those interested in participating may call 402-727-8977.
Ritter noted that Uniquely Yours has many free services, such as the interview clothing shop, reading glasses, employability workshops, nutrition education, anger management/mental health support groups, one-on-one money management, case management.
In the computer lab, people can fill out applications for jobs or community service or create a resume.
“It’s really important for people to understand that we’re not income-based,” Evans noted. “We don’t require that someone necessarily be below the poverty line, because we understand that there are families who possibly have higher incomes than that, but a crisis happens and they need help.”
Ritter looks forward to the charity competition.
“We think it’s a great way to kick off the New Year,” Ritter said. “We like to say that Fremont has community support busting out at the seams.”