Former Miami student honored for United Way work

Emily Callahan, a May graduate of Miami University, worked as an intern for the Butler County United Way for the 2017-18 academic year and was responsible for organizing the campus Student United Way organization. For that work, she was given the Junior Volunteer of the Year Award. CONTRIBUTED

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Emily Callahan, a May graduate of Miami University, worked as an intern for the Butler County United Way for the 2017-18 academic year and was responsible for organizing the campus Student United Way organization. For that work, she was given the Junior Volunteer of the Year Award. CONTRIBUTED

Miami University’s Student United Way chapter officially started this past semester but it was in the works since the start of 2018. That work was recognized with an award for the woman who took the lead in the effort.

Emily Callahan spent the past academic year as a social work intern with Butler County United Way before graduating from Miami in May. She is now working on a master’s degree at Ohio State University.

Because of her new academic effort, she was unable to make it back to Butler County Dec. 5 for the United Way’s annual meeting and volunteer recognition but was honored with the Junior Volunteer of the Year Award for spearheading the launch of the Student United Way Chapter on the Miami Oxford campus.

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Krystal Tipton, the vice president for community impact for Butler County United Way, worked closely with Callahan during her year as an intern. She said they gave Callahan a number of smaller projects during the first semester in the fall of 2017.

“Beginning with the J-Term (January 2018), the Student United Way was her project. She went through the training and took all the steps,” Tipton said. “She spearheaded everything. It was great to see her take charge and get the organization formed on campus.”

Patrick Burns, a Miami junior who is president of the organization, gave credit to Callahan for her work in setting up the new organization in an interview for a recent story about the group.

“(Callahan) got it officially started. She did all the hard stuff. It was not officially recognized until fall,” Burns said.

Tipton said they did not realize all the work involved in getting a student organization officially recognized on the campus, but Callahan did the work needed to get it done.

“We have a great partnership with Miami. She was a student and reached out to other student organizations, did hours of training. Emily was very diligent. We are pleased and proud of her,” Tipton said. “She made a presentation to the Community Engagement office and they were on board.”

Tipton said Callahan is more interested in dealing with issues at the “micro level” looking at community solutions rather than social work dealing with individuals’ problems resulting from those issues.

“She wants to look at the community and gaps and fill them in,” the United Way vice president said. “The Student United Way was a lot of leg work. It was her baby and then she handed it off to Patrick.”

Student United Way organizations are spreading at universities and colleges around the country to work with the local United Way on education and health issues. The Miami group introduced two “Blessing Boxes” into the Oxford community where people in need of some emergency food can take an item, but Tipton said she hopes they will encourage people to use that for an emergency need and to make use of the Oxford Community Choice Pantry on a regular basis.

The pantry is located in a building on the grounds of Mount Olivet Cemetery operated by St. Mary Church. Access is off of North Locust Street. Hours are 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays and 2-4 p.m. Saturdays.

Mag Baker, president and CEO of Butler County United Way, recognized six volunteers from this past year and presented them awards at the annual meeting.

In addition to the award for Callahan, Miami University was also recognized with the Spirit of Collaboration Award for collaboration in developing the CommUnity Connect volunteer portal. This portal, available to anyone, provides an easy and convenient method to help those looking to volunteer, find those in need of volunteers. The award was accepted by Leigh Ackerman on behalf of Miami University.

The other awards were:

• The Spirit of Service Award was presented to Karen Mueller, executive vice president with HORAN, for her service to Butler County United Way as past Board of Trustees Chair.

• The LIVE UNITED Partnership Award was presented to Express Scripts for their participation in both a workforce campaign, where they increased their campaign donations by nearly 100 percent, as well as volunteer events such as partnering with the American Red Cross to install smoke alarms in targeted areas of Fairfield.

• The Building Block Award was presented to Katrinka Stone for her efforts and the many ways she supports the monthly Building Block events hosted by United Way.

• The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Jeff Eberlein, Partner/Brand Consultant with Brand It For Good, in acknowledgement of his continuous support as well as the sound, professional advice given to the staff of Butler County United Way.

For additional information about Butler County United Way, call (513) 863-0800 or visit www.bc-unitedway.org.

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