Success Stories


Each day United Way of Southwest Oklahoma improves the lives of men, women, and children in our community. Through the work of our 19 funded partners and in-house education program, Success By 6. Their 19 programs, collectively we are addressing the critical needs in our community and providing the support and resources needed to solve these issues while creating better lives for all. Your funds stay local to help create a better tomorrow right here. Your donations to United Way of Southwest Oklahoma helps individuals in need in our community.

Read below to learn more about how your gift is changing lives.


I have learned many skills, including starting campfires, tying knots, projects and community service. I have obtained leadership skills as a Jr. Asst. Scoutmaster, organizational skills as Quartermaster. In Scouting, the patrol method used, which makes the scouts work as a team together when camping and planning events. Basic survival skills when the troop goes camping. Merit badges are great learning tools and give you insights to the many facets of life. You can look at the merit badges in three levels. There are merit badges that give your life skills, merit badges that give you an insight to future careers, and merit badges that are fun and can show different things that can end up being a hobby. The effect Scouting has had on me since I joined in January 2018 has been a positive experience. I have met people I may otherwise have not met (community leaders) and have done things I may not have done without being a member of scouting. Scouting is an experience for the whole family. Boy Scouts of America, Last Frontier Council

A Grandmother's Wish:

An eleven-year-old male, removed first and placed into DHS custody in 2015 due to first-hand drug exposure and domestic violence. The child has been in eleven different placements, including six foster homes, three group homes, and two facilities. His parents failed to ensure he was developmentally on target, causing him to suffer academically. In 2019, his father's parental rights were terminated. In 2020, his mother relinquished her parental rights. The child was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder with psychotic symptoms, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity Disorder, and generalized anxiety. CASA was assigned to the case as a fresh perspective and immediately interviewed all the parties involved, including the child, family members, DHS, placement providers, and therapists. CASA advocated for educational needs, medication management, his mental health needs to be addressed appropriately, and placement. The child's maternal Grandmother was the only consistent family member in the child's life. The Grandmother was denied twice for placement of her grandson. Although denied, she continued to maintain contact with him no matter where he was placed. CASA witnessed how the child would light up joyfully when he spoke of his Grandmother. Last year, his Grandmother drove from Louisiana to Oklahoma to give her grandson a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. CASA attended and observed the child's love and connection with his Grandmother. CASA advocated for DHS to approve the Grandmother to gain placement for her grandson. As of today, the child was placed with his Grandmother in Louisiana, and he hopes his Grandmother will be able to adopt him. CASA of Southwest Oklahoma


A Holy Family Catholic Church parishioner. Leydi and her family arrived in the U.S. in the summer of 2019 and, shortly after that, found out she was pregnant. Not knowing the language or her way around the community, Leydi needed help finding medical care for her pregnancy. Leydi’s husband had family members who helped the family look for a place to live, but they did not speak enough English to help the family find medical care or enroll their five-year-old daughter in school. A case manager from CCAOKC's Family HOPE program was able to walk Leydi through the enrolling process of Sooner Care benefits that would cover her medical care while she was pregnant. Leydi's sister-in-law assisted her with school enrollment for her five-year-old, and the case manager helped the family fill out the school’s documentation. The case manager translated for Leydi during her first trimester appointments, until the clinic hired a bilingual nurse. After the baby was born, Leydi needed help with the child’s birth certificate and social security card. Leydi and her husband did not have the required documentation to support the child’s birth certificate application. CCAOKC's Family HOPE case manager helped the couple make an appointment with the Honduran Embassy in Arlington, TX, and transported the couple to obtain their Honduran passports, a process that took six months to finalize. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic prolonged the birth certificate process but the family finally received their daughter’s birth certificate in September of 2022. During this time, the case manager met with Leydi monthly, teaching her how to budget their money. Leydi wanted to work to help with household expenses and the case manager helped her enroll her daughter in the Early Head Start program so that she did not have to pay much for childcare. Leydi and her husband attended school only through sixth grade, and learning English was challenging for the couple. However, not speaking the language has not stopped the couple from finding jobs and supporting their family. After obtaining their passports, the couple applied for Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers and they are now taxpayers. They opened bank accounts, which helped them begin to build credit with the bank. Leydi and her husband learned how to budget their income and were able to purchase a decent family car and a home. CCAOKC's Family HOPE case manager helped the couple with community resources that assisted them with the home-buying process. In November 2022, Leydi and the CCAOKC case manager were finally able to obtain a social security card for the child. The couple's children, now ages eight and three, are bilingual and are thriving in school. The couple transitioned out of the Family HOPE program in December 2022, and continue to do well. Catholic Charities 



I just wanted to let you know how much these meals mean to me. Starting in my second year of widowhood, eating a balanced, regular meal has been harder than you can imagine. The senior nutrition meals you are serving are quite delicious and I am looking forward to each lunchtime. This simple gesture is, I believe, helping me to move forward. Thank you! Recent Widower Center for Creative Living Senior Nutrition Program


I have been coming to CFCC for almost a year now. The decision to start counseling has been one of the best ones I ever made in my life. Counseling has changed my life; I am on the way to be the person I always wanted to be. My counselor has provided me with so many "tools". Situations that I could have never handled calmly before are almost a piece of cake. My anxiety level has reduced, I am so much calmer, happier, and more relaxed, more easy going, sincere, open and satisfied. My relationship with others has improved, I am more self-assured - life is good. I would not be able to afford this even now that I am married. My husband and I have barely enough to pay our bills, yet God always provides and I am so thankful he provided a way through the free counseling services for us to receive counseling. Whoever makes these kinds of services available for those like me who could not otherwise afford them, I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you!! God bless you. Christian Family Counseling Center 


Hello, my name is Erin and when I came to Family Promise, I was thirty weeks pregnant with my son Nathaniel. Our story began when I found out on New Year's Eve I was pregnant with my bundle of joy! I was considered a high-risk pregnancy. I was at the OB every week at Oklahoma's Children’s Hospital. I had several pregnancy complications and before I knew it, I was put on bed rest. I continued working from home and trying to save every dime I could for the baby. Despite my efforts to save money for the baby, I would get paid and it would be gone with no explanation of where it went. The father was never home and would be gone until 3:00 A.M. almost every night. He was hanging around some sketchy people that were using drugs. He had a history of drug abuse. The relationship was going south fast and I knew that I needed to do something to better the life of my unborn son. I found out that he was cheating on me so I confronted him about it. Before I knew it, I had 24 hours to leave after he had spent my whole paycheck. I spent the weekend calling family, friends, and shelters. None of my friends or family wanted to take in a high-risk pregnant woman and every shelter was closed or full. That Sunday, he forced me to leave by saying he found a shelter that would take me in Chickasha and to pack my stuff we were leaving in an hour. He took me to the shelter and dropped me off. After talking to the woman, she informed me that I had to leave during the day and come back at night. However, if they were full, I was out on the street. He reluctantly picked me back up and helped searched for a new place I could stay all night. I begged him to give me a few days to find a place to go. That following Monday, while I was working, he spent the day calling every shelter in Oklahoma. Family Promise called me, and they had an opening in their program for me. I walked into Family Promise scared, lost, hopeless, and full of worry not knowing what our future was going to be. However, anything was better than what we left behind. After talking to Sarah and the staff, I knew that we were safe now. That night, I slept the best I had in two years. I had no food stamps the first month because because the father had stolen them. Family Promise provided me with food until I got food stamps. When I came to Family Promise, I left everything behind and all I had were my clothes and a few things for my son. Every day was like Christmas. Within weeks, everything that we needed was donated. The staff was so supportive through my entire pregnancy. All our needs were met. My son was born with his left foot clubbed. Three days after he was born, we were in Children's Hospital for a cast weekly. Right as we were about to move, I found out that he was going to need surgery. Family Promise was very supportive during this time. They allowed me to stay the extra time needed for him to recover. There were many days when I would come into the office full of worry needing direction and help and without question, they were always there to help. Family Promise not only gave us a place to stay when we had nowhere else to go they gave us a home, a career, and a bright future. Family Promise is family to us! I honestly do not know where we would be without them! Family Promise of Lawton Shelter


A 14 year old, Cadette from Troop 993 in Lawton, is actively engaged in every aspect of the Girl Scouts experience. She told us that her favorite part about being a Girl Scout is experiencing the outdoors through camp, learning from her troop leaders, earning money to pay for exciting troop trips and robotics. She takes pride knowing that because of her and her troop’s commitment to operating their cookie booth four days a week during cookie season for the last two years, their upcoming summer trip to Savannah, Georgia, is paid in full! Kaetlyn, along with her friends in Troop 993 love going to Camp E-K-Wah where they spend time exploring nature, crafting, learning archery and fishing. When asked what she has learned from being a Girl Scout, she grinned, “I have learned that you can make friends with anyone, and I am learning skills now that I know I will need when I am older.” Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma

John S.:

My name is John S., coming to C Carter Crane gave me a second chance on life that I never knew I needed. I am 58 years old I have been in and out of prison since I was 18 years old. With that being said, I did not experience much of life. Therefore, I did not know the basics. I was released from prison because of kidney disease. Coming into the shelter, I was very standoffish be housed there. Ms. Jasmine, Ms. Sylvia and Sam made me feel very welcomed. Sam could relate to how I was feeling it made me feel good knowing that I could also change my life around. Sam was a true inspiration to my thought process he also was locked up for a long period and had to also walk the same path that, I was walking. I started helping with donation pickups and doing more around the shelter that made me feel like my life had a purpose. Ms. Jasmine helped me get Social Security started and fill out all my paperwork for housing. Because of a head injury, I suffered in prison I have difficulties, writing, and reading with understanding. She took her time with me, I felt complete and accomplished when I transitioned into my own home because of their patience and love they poured into me. I pray the shelter continues to grow and is able to expand. With such caring staff, I know God will do it. Thank you so much for allowing me to share my experience with you. C. Carter Crane Center for Empowerment and Advancement

The W Family:

*Patient’s name has been changed to protect their right to privacy. The W Family of six has immigrated to the United States from Brazil, and not yet US citizens. While the family was able to find work, their new employer does not offer health coverage and they could not afford private health insurance. Because they are not yet US residents, they do not qualify for SoonerCare. M.W. states, “We moved to the United States for new opportunities. We are here legally, and we work, but my Father and Mother are elderly and have health issues. We cannot afford insurance, but we also cannot pay for healthcare by ourselves. Finding Hearts That Care was life changing. Myself, my parents, and my husband all received healthcare prescriptions, and they even referred me to their dental clinic when I had a bad tooth that needed to be pulled. We are very grateful for their services to people like us when so many would deny us these basic healthcare services.” Hearts that Care Volunteer Health Clinic


"This Thanksgiving was hard for us. This whole month was hard for a few others our age. We have never been as lost as we were this month. We had a very bad hardship that almost made us go bankrupt. However, because of some good people here in Lawton we managed to stay afloat. The Lawton Food Bank was a big part of helping us out. Even though we were hoping for a ham or turkey, we were blessed with food. We always try and give back during the holidays but this year has been rough for our family. Thank you all." -F.M.  Lawton Food Bank Emergency Food Assistance Program

Mother Seeking Guardianship:

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma (LASO) represented the mother of 23 year old man with a disability in proceedings to terminate the guardianship held by the young man’s father so that the mother could be named as the substitute guardian. During the time the father had guardianship, he succeeded in alienating her son from her. LASO’s client received a call from the Comanche County Sheriff’s Office letting her know that her son’s father had been arrested on suspicion of Lewd Acts with a Minor Child and was going to be held on criminal charges. She was told to pick up her son from his apartment. When the client arrived, she noticed that her son had not been assisted with basic hygiene, was lethargic, and she saw sores and other skin blemishes. She noted that none of her son’s medications were present in the apartment, there was very little food, and the environment was unsanitary, including needles and drugs lying around. She contacted LASO’s office and LASO prepared a Motion and Order for an Emergency Temporary Guardianship for her son and set a hearing on the Motion to Terminate Guardianship of the father. Through proceedings, the client learned that the father did not work and used the ward’s Social Security Administration funds to support his drug habit. It was discovered that they had no transportation, little food, and the ward was not getting routine medical care that his degenerative conditions required. The Department of Human Services shared findings and recommended awarding guardianship to LASO’s client. As a result, this client was able to get an Order Terminating the Father’s Rights as Guardian and permanent Guardianship over her son. Her son is now happy, healthy, safe, and being seen regularly by a treating physician and specialists for his conditions. Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma 

Troubled Youth:

A young man was brought to the CERC because no placement would accept him due to his prior behavior. He has been in eight different placements including kinship placements. The average length of stay at the CERC averages 60-days. However, he was able to stay with us for just over one year. He said that the staff was super helpful and the fact that he had a mentor and counselor helped him keep his placement until he was able to get a foster home. After about 13 months he was released to his new foster family. Marie Detty Youth and Family Service Center Emergency Shelter Program


Janice and her two children were referred to New Directions by law enforcement due to domestic violence. Janice’s boyfriend had strangled her, causing her to be temporarily hospitalized. Upon admittance into shelter, Janice explained that she had been through “severe ongoing domestic violence from her boyfriend.” With the assistance of the New Directions Court Advocate, she obtained a protective order for 2 years. In addition, the on-site Legal Aid Attorney provided legal consultation about her case. Janice worked with the Case manager to replace documents that had been left behind, fix her car problems, and relocate to a new home. New Directions used funds from the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) to pay utility deposit for the family to move into residence. Janice reported being very excited to get a fresh start with her children. She was able to accomplish her goals within thirty days of being in the shelter. Marie Detty Youth and Family Service Center New Directions Program

Mother Seeking After-School Program:

One year ago, we received a phone call from a mother who was asking about our after-school program. She asked if we would be able to service her son who is nonverbal in a self-contained classroom. I spoke with my staff, and we all agreed that we could handle that task. We made sure our staff was trained on how to handle a club member in this situation. Our staff has done a great job. I am pleased to say that this club member now speaks in full sentences and has been able to communicate with other club members. We have received a lot of positive feedback from the school system and his family on how well he adapted to our after-school program. Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club Program

James M.:

James M. came to us after completing a stay at a rehab facility. James was a very hard worker and was able to secure employment in the first week he was here at the facility. James saved his money wisely and was a model client. He was able to stay in the program until he had the appropriate funds saved for his rent, deposits and utility payments. After 45 days, James left us for his own apartment. He is still employed with the same company, and still in his own apartment. Salvation Army Shelter and Soup Kitchen Program

Cindy G.:

I am the mother of two grown-up children, one serving in the military. I grew up as a foster child, struggling at every stage to become who I am today. Before starting the Getting Ahead class, I was a bibliophile who loved to read books and hang out in my favorite place, the library. I spotted the flyer, "Getting ahead in a just-getting-by world." I was intrigued. I applied and got on board. The Getting Ahead class ended up being a litmus test for me. I could dillydally around and read books for the sheer pleasure of learning, take it up a notch, completely step out of my comfort zone, face the "fear," and enroll in a college class. It has been 30 years since I stepped inside a classroom as a student. I had grown a fear of the unknown when it came to college. During the 16 weeks class, we were graced many weeks with extraordinary people, including ladies of the Women's Auxiliary. I am truly humbled and honored to have had the opportunity to share in fellowship with this fantastic group of women. Well, the 16 weeks have flown by, so much has happened, and so much has changed. I am a college student now! I am knocking down walls, crushing barriers, and doing it while being the oldest person in my college classes. There have been tears; there will be more. I will overcome those obstacles when they rear their heads, and lastly, they say it takes a village to raise a kid. It does indeed; it takes a village to raise a "Cindy" as a foster kid; I didn't get here with a supportive biological family. Still, I'm here because of a whole tribe of people. Cindy G. Story. August 2022  Salvation Army Bridges Out of Poverty


I am from Arizona. I got in so much trouble there that they told me I could not come back to the state. I am almost 17 years old. My  whole family lives there. I am sad that I do not get to see them because I cannot go back. I know it is my fault, but I think it is unfair since I am just a kid. I lived here and now I live with my grandpa’s brother. When I got here, I had to start a new school. I got in trouble the first day and was sent to ISS. This is where and when I met Princess. She told me she teaches the Turning Point classes, this class covers all topics, but mostly  drugs, alcohol, bad choices, good choices, anger management, how to avoid conflict, and stuff like that. She made it sound like stuff I did not want to learn about, Lol. I spent the rest of the semester going to that class any time I could. She taught me so much great stuff. She mostly taught me to start looking at every choice I make and how it affects my future. Every single choice. . . .Like what I am going to eat, when will I go to bed, when will I do my homework, what kind of girls I date, and how I handle my sadness. Every single choice. She and I turned it into a game that helped my mind make better choices. I now look at my life like a game board. This bad choices makes me go back two steps; the good choices makes me go forward two steps. Some choices make me go back more than two steps. Those are the choices, I have to really think about. She taught me that small setbacks are okay, that is how we learn. However, large setbacks are bad for us. Therefore, she taught me how to look out for others. After I had stayed out of trouble for an entire year. Princess told me to write a letter to my probation officer in Arizona asking for permission to visit my family. I sent a copy of my report card, a letter from the school principal saying I have stayed out of trouble, and a letter from the juvenile bureau saying I have never been in trouble here. She helped me write the letter, and I got permission to see my family again. She taught me how to stay out of trouble. She gave me hope that I would not always be away from my family. Teen Court Delinquency Prevention

Robert H.:

I have been involved with the Parkinson's caregiver support group since it was started and I have been extremely pleased with the direction and results that it has produced. For almost six years I have relied on information and programs geared toward the patient, that has been helpful, but having a program that is directed toward the caregiver sheds a different light on issues in how to approach care given to Parkinson's patients. Since there are no two cases alike, it is helpful to be able to hear and discuss what other caregivers have found to be helpful and what works in their situations. It also provides resources in areas that we might not be aware of and gives us insight into ways that we might help our loved ones cope with Parkinson's Disease a little bit better. Robert H. Oklahoma Parkinson's Alliance Support Network

Virginia H.:

My Story, I first noticed symptoms of Parkinson's in 2005. My left leg began shaking. A neurologist who ran several tests, but could not give me an actual diagnosis. In 2009, while working as a nurse, I noticed a tremor in my left hand when starting an IV. I saw a different neurologist, who started me on Carbidopa-levodopa, but he could not give a diagnosis of Parkinson's. In 2017, I moved to Lawton to be near my kids. My daughter saw an article in the newspaper about a Parkinson's support group. I decided to attend this group. It was the smartest thing I did. They have different programs important to Parkinson's patients: including bringing in a specialist about movement disorders, representatives from drug companies, Parkinson's Voice Project, and the importance of exercise and social activities. The Oklahoma Parkinson's Alliance also brought in Rock Steady boxing to the Lawton YMCA, which has kept me fit. Parkinson's Voice Project sponsors Speak Out and Loud Crowd which is held at Southwestern Hospital. This has helped me with swallowing and with keeping my voice by speaking with intent. I believe these programs are essential to Parkinson's patients. Oklahoma Parkinson's Alliance Voice Therapy Program


Together, we can change the story. Join the UNITED WAY movement!