Editor’s note: The following is a press release from United Way. Bloom has republished it here with edits for style and clarity.

As the region rebuilds from the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Wake Up! with United Way season will focus on the theme “Building a Better Normal.” Each month’s discussion will focus on topics like homelessness, food security, and workers’ rights.  

“As we rebuild from the pandemic, we have an opportunity to rethink how, together, we address our challenges,” says Efrat Feferman, United Way of Monroe County executive director. “This series aims to dig a little deeper into the underlying issues contributing to poverty and economic insecurity, while also bringing to light innovative solutions and how we can best support rebuilding a better normal.”   

Hosted by United Way of Monroe County and Indiana University’s Political and Civic Engagement program, each Wake Up! with United Way event features community leaders and experts relevant to the topic. Join friends, neighbors, nonprofits, and community partners to learn more about issues that directly or indirectly affect the region. Attendees will have the opportunity to deepen their awareness about someone else’s reality while learning about the challenges, innovations, collaborations, and resources available through area nonprofits, and how to get more involved in making a difference. Guests are invited to tune in with questions for the speakers or just listen and learn. 

The series will run through November on the second Thursday of each month from 8–9 a.m. The events will continue to be held virtually until further notice.  

Virtual Wake Up! with United Way events are free to attend, but those interested should RSVP via Eventbrite to receive the event link. Visit monroeunitedway.org/wakeup for information on the upcoming event and to RSVP.  

The remainder of the Building A Better Normal season will include: 

·         March 11, Are we in an “Eviction Tsunami?” 

·         April 8, Homelessness and Housing Insecurity 

·         May 13, Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and the Intersection with Homelessness 

·         June 10, What is Housing First? 

·         July 8, Health and Safety 

·         August 12, Food Security 

·         September 9, Workers’ Rights 

·         October 14, Caring for our Children 

·         November 11, Caring for our Nation’s Veterans 

The 2021 sponsors for Wake Up! with United Way include Premier Series Sponsor Bloomington Township, Presenting Sponsors IU Credit Union and Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, and Program Sponsors Duke Energy and Old National Bank. 

United Way of Monroe County is a nonprofit organization serving Monroe, Owen, and Greene counties that seeks to improve people’s lives by addressing critical needs today and working to reduce those needs tomorrow. Through its Community Action Fund and grant initiatives, United Way works with 24 member agencies and community partners to help ensure families have opportunities and everyone can meet basic living needs. For more information, visit monroeunitedway.org.