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United Way kicks off campaign

By Charles Young

This year the United Way wants you to dream big.

The United Way of Central West Virginia kicked off its 2013-2014 advertising campaign Wednesday afternoon with a photo shoot all about what can happen if you just imagine.

The campaign's first promotional material, a brochure, features a local volunteer Brienna Marco imagining what could happen if she gave her time helping others through the United Way. Standing behind her are a dozen members of the community, all volunteers and donors, dressed in the organization's signature white "Live United T-shirts."

"Hopefully, we'll get people thinking who don't do anything," said John Ballengee, president of United Way's Charleston branch. "You know, they go straight home, they hit the button, the garage door comes down, it comes up the next morning and that's the only time you see them. Those people aren't imagining anything."

 With the new campaign strategy, Ballengee said he hopes the organization can inspire people get out of their homes and start thinking about their community.  

Serving the citizens of Kanawha, Putnam, Boone, Clay and Logan counties, the United Way of Central Charleston aims to improve the community by supporting and facilitating programs, agencies and services for those in need.  

Angie Paxton, promotions director for the campaign, said Marco was the perfect person to feature as the face of the brochure because she really is the person she's portraying and not a hired model. In real life, Marco donates her time and money to the United Way.       

The images and volunteers from the photo shoot will be used throughout the year across a wide range of promotional materials like fliers, posters and videos highlighting the organization's work.

Brian Lake, resources development director, said he shared Ballengee's hopes and thought the example set by participants in the photo shoot would get others involved.

"We want to spread the word to further and to more people about the impact they can make," Lake said. "So many lives can be touched."

Contact writer Charles Young at or 304-348-1796.

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