United Way Campaign

United Way Building

Published on October 6, 2022

Isabel Rosales-Aparicio | Multimedia Specialist

The United Way of Southwest Oklahoma is well into their annual campaign and this week, Teen Court and Success by Six came to talk to City of Lawton employees to explain how they impact our community.

Teen Court has been an agency member of United Way since 1993. The non-profit is a first-time offender program for juveniles that are arrested for misdemeanor offenses.

First time offender juveniles have an opportunity to come to a court deferred program to be heard and sentences by a jury of their peers. As opposed to having formal charges filed against them if they go before a jury of their peers and a volunteer judge.

The jury consist of student volunteers who are trained in court proceedings. Every Thursday, the student jury hears cases in their court, mentor offenders and help them to change the road they are on so they can have a better life. Peer to peer mentoring and sentencing makes a huge impact on the students and many of the offenders will come back to volunteer for the program because of the mentorship they received.

Success by Six is an in-house program created by United Way to help meet the needs of residents in Lawton. This program is to promote early childhood literacy and to get children ready for education in school systems. They have partnered with Comanche County Community Resilience We Care to provide four host sites: Comanche Nation Charter School, The Zoe Christian Center, The Impact Community Center, and the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club. They have also partnered with Lawton Public Schools, the Lawton Public Library, Marie Detty Youth and Family Services, the Comanche County Health Department, and Great Plains Technology Center (GPTC) to facilitate sessions to host the Family Empowerment program. This program is to empower families and equip them with the right tools they need to succeed. Meals are provided during the event with a life skill session such as resume building and employment services for the parents/caregivers, while the children work on arts and crafts. Participating families can receive a $50.00 gift card. Sessions are held every Thursday and the locations rotate every month.

The City of Lawton supports United Way through Jean Thursday where employees pay $20 for the month of October and November to wear jeans to work on every Thursday. The City of Lawton also supports by using the Annual Payroll deduction donation, where over the last 10 years they have raised over $370,000 for the United Way.

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