The Weyburn and District United Way is calling upon local residents to “Let’s Work Together” during their 31st annual Communithon on Friday to Saturday, Oct. 26 to 27.
“Preparations are going really well. The committees are working hard to make sure everything is ready to go this year,” said Sandy Alexander, executive director of the Weyburn and District United Way. “We’re trying to make a few changes — but still have a great event. The entertainment line-up looks impressive.”
“All the local talent we have in Weyburn is worth coming out to see,” said Marla St. Onge, the president of the United Way, and co-chair of Communithon.
The United Way hosts Communithon to support its member agencies, and this year need to raise $131,000 for 11 member agencies. Of course, the hopes are to reach that goal before the end of the 33-hour live show.
The 33-hour fundraiser will be broadcast live on Access 7 from 8 a.m. on Friday to 5 p.m. on Saturday. It is hosted at the Weyburn Comp Cafetorium.
In addition to being broadcast live on Access 7, Communithon will also be aired online again at www.weyburnunitedway.com. “Access Communications will be giving us a live stream this year so the production should even be better than usual,” said Alexander.
“Communithon is our fund raising event for 2012,” said Alexander. “Other United Ways have fund-raising campaigns from September to the end of December, but this is our 31st year of having Communithon, where we have fun while we raise the funds for our member agencies. We have 11 member agencies this year.”
The member agencies are the Canada Mental Health Association, Weyburn Supportive Employment Services, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Big Brothers Big Sisters Assoc. of Weyburn, Canadian Paraplegic Association (Sask) Inc., Weyburn Care-A-Van Society, Canadian Red Cross, Weyburn Special Care Home Auxiliary, Envision Counselling and Support Centre, Color My World Child Care Inc., and Saskatchewan Abilities Council.
Residents will be able to learn more about the different member agencies from the different displays at the Communithon. In addition, “we will have pre-taped spots of the different agencies which we will be airing, as well there will be on-air interviews from the agencies during Communithon,” said St. Onge.
Every since the start of Communithon 31 years ago, two local youth are chosen as Captain United and Lady Charity, who promote the event at local schools and businesses. This year, Captain United is Decker Mainil and Lady Charity is Marissa McCallum.
“The community gives so much to us, with a place to live and activities to do, that this is a good way to give back,” said Mainil. He encouraged all residents to support the Communithon either by attending the performances, or by donating during the 33-hour event.
Both Decker and Marissa reflected on their past memories of Communithon. For Decker, his favourite memory was performing with his elementary school group. “We had a lot of practice for it because it was such a big thing, and Communithon gave us a chance to perform for the whole community.”
“I remember singing at Communithon when I was five at McKenna Hall. I remember singing ‘Me and My Teddy Bear’, and I had a little teddy bear,” said McCallum. “That is my earliest memory of Communithon.”
Both Mainil and McCallum attend Communithon committee meetings before the event itself. “It has been cool to see how a committee for something like this works, and getting to sit on meetings and see everything that goes into it,” said McCallum.
Two younger children are chosen from the elementary schools as Junior Captain United and Junior Lady Charity. “I want to be a positive influence that a junior could look up to, and be a good role model,” said Mainil.
“I would like to show the little Lady Charity that it is cool to get involved in your community,” said McCallum.
Some special fundraisers during the Communithon include a perogy dinner, hosted by the Weyburn Co-op and the Knights of Columbus, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday at McKenna Hall.
Also, the Weyburn Co-op, Weyburn Credit Union and Access Communications will host a pancake breakfast on Saturday morning from 7 to 10 a.m., at the Weyburn Credit Union community room.
For information on this year’s entertainment, residents can refer to the Communithon advertisement in this week’s Review. Throughout the entertainment at the Comp, residents can bid on silent auction items, or purchase a 50/50 ticket.
Last year, the 30th anniversary of Communithon surpassed its goal for the year, although that goal was reached after the telethon went off the air.
The goal for the 30th anniversary in 2011 was $130,000. This year’s goal is $1,000 higher than last year, and reflects the growing needs of the member agencies to continue to provide their programs in the communities.
The Weyburn & District United Way was organized in 1965 to provide an umbrella organization to support various organizations within Weyburn and surrounding area by coordinating the collection of donations from various businesses, individuals and organizations.
The United Way utilizes over a thousand volunteers in the annual campaign, which results in an organized one-time request for support from donors. Funds raised are then allocated to the member agency organizations.