United Way of Westchester and Putnam celebrated National “2-1-1 Day” (2/11) by asking its supporters to tell, email, post, or tweet someone at exactly 2:11p.m to tell them that vital health and human services assistance is just a call or click away through 2-1-1 orwww.hudson211.org. Additionally, area United Way chapters announced a new United Way’s PSA Challenge, “Voices for 2-1-1,” that pairs learning with doing good by inviting high school students to enter a contest to create a 2-1-1 public service written or video announcement (PSA) that will air on local media. Official contest partners include WHUD, the Office of the Westchester County Executive, and The Volunteer Center of United Way.
In Westchester and Putnam, at least one United Way “Voices for 2-1-1” winner per category (written PSA and video PSA) will be chosen by a panel of judges representing media, government, non-profit and communications:
· Kacey Morabito and Mike Bennett, hosts of Mike and Kacey in the Morning, 100.7 WHUD
· Sue Guzman, Westchester Bureau Chief WHUD Radio and Managing Editor for the Hudson Valley Reporter
· Joe Beckerle, President, Beckerle Productions
· Marissa Brett, Executive Director, Economic Development, Westchester County Association
· Stacey Cohen, CEO and President, Co-Communications, Inc.
· Diana Costello, Communications Specialist, Office of the Westchester County Executive
· Ernie Garcia, Reporter, Journal News and LoHud.com
· John Golden, Senior Writer, Westchester County Business Journal
· Alisa Kesten, Executive Director, The Volunteer Center of United Way
· Bill Madden, Executive Vice President, Focus Media, Inc.
· Carl Pagano, Program Coordinator, Westchester County multimedia department
· Stephanie Perruzza, MS, RD, CDN, Cancer & Wellness Center Nutrition Coordinator, Northern Westchester Hospital
· AJ Romeo, Executive Vice President, Steiner Sports Memorabilia
· Lanning Taliaferro, Associate Regional Director, Patch
Winners can choose to tour the WHUD studio or Westchester County multimedia department and will have their PSA publicized by the campaign’s media sponsor, WHUD, and other media outlets. Communications professionals from across the region will serve as judges and also as featured presenters at “careers in communications day” at participating high schools. Voices for 2-1-1 aims to increase awareness of United Way's 2-1-1, offer teens the opportunity to further develop their writing and communication skills, and introduce teens to careers in communications and media. Additional information, rules of entry, and applications are available at www.uwwp.org/voices.
Launched in 2005, United Way’s 2-1-1 is a free, confidential, multilingual helpline that provides millions of people each year with health and human services information, referrals, crisis support and disaster recovery information. The Hudson Valley Region 2-1-1 helpline was utilized during Hurricane Sandy to provide affected residents with a variety of disaster-related services, including financial assistance and help from the American Red Cross. More than 15,000 recovery calls to the helpline were made in the weeks following Hurricane Sandy, with an additional 750,000 visits to the 2-1-1 website.
The Hudson Valley Region 2-1-1 Call Center services more than 2.2 million people each year. Governments and taxpayers in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester reap substantial benefits from 2-1-1’s presence that reduces the number of non-emergency calls made to 9-1-1. Now that tax season is here, trained call center specialists are also answering hundreds of tax inquiries each week and setting up appointments for people to get free tax preparation assistance throughout the region.
“We say that when you have a burning question, you should call 2-1-1. Of course when you have a burning building, call 9-1-1,” said Pat Anderson Hudson Valley’s 2-1-1 Outreach and Emergency Management Director. “Whether it be with tax assistance or a national emergency, 2-1-1 is available 10 hours a day, 365 days a year to get people the help they need as quickly as possible.”
United Way leaders from across the Hudson Valley Region also will be calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to add back critical state funding for the 2-1-1 helpline, which is not in the governor’s current budget proposal.
For more information about 2-1-1 visit www.hudson211.org/cms/or you can call 2-1-1 from any type of telephone to speak with a professionally trained, paid call specialists from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., 7 days a week.