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Volume 68, Issue 45, Monday, October 28, 2002


Employees add aid to state fund

By Ashley Clark
The Daily Cougar

Three weeks after launching the State Employee Charitable Campaign, UH employees are continuing to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of needy Texans through donations.

"Last year we raised $106,000, with 17 percent employee participation. This year, during the campaign's first week, 652 faculty and staff pledged $72,873, either through payroll deduction or in one-time cash gifts,' said Ileana V. Trevino, the UH vice president of university development and this year's SECC chairperson for UH.

The campaign, which ends Thursday, is an annual charity event that allows all full-time and benefit-eligible state employees to make tax-deductible donations that will benefit more than 300 local, state, and national agencies.

"I am delighted that so many faculty and staff signed up during the first week of the campaign. Our thanks go to all of them, and to the campaign coordinators for their hard work and diligence," Trevino said.

Among the many agencies that will benefit from the SECC event are the Houston Area Women's Center, the Sickle Cell Association of Texas and the Houston Food Bank. 

One UH department is also on the list of charities that donations can go to: the UH Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic, part of the Department of Communication Disorders.

Lynn Bliss, the director of the clinic, said the amount the clinic gets from the SECC drive varies every year, but whatever is given is appreciated.

"We depend on some of this money," Bliss said.

The clinic has two types of programs; some deal with hearing and others deal with speech and language.

"For individuals who can't pay for a hearing aid full price, the program gives them a very reduced price," Bliss said. "It enables people to get hearing aids who could not normally get them."

"We treat people in the community who can't afford to pay full fees," Bliss said. "That's why we're unique."

One aspect of the SECC is that people who donate can designate a particular charity they want their money to go to. Bliss said that if anyone wants to donate specifically to the Speech, Language and Hearing Clinic, its code is 333800.

Bliss encouraged UH employees to donate money this year, because she said United Way, which manages the campaign, has had a very difficult year in this area because of all the Houston companies that have been having financial troubles and donating less.

That fits with this year's SECC theme, "Now More Than Ever," which is meant to encourage people to support Texas as the economy still tries to heal after 9/11.

"This year, it is more important then ever to contribute to SECC," Trevino said. "First, many charities are still having a tough time raising funds as a result of the climate and the economic uncertainties of the moment. The needs of the agencies and the citizens they serve, however, have not decreased-if anything, the needs are greater."

Employees should donate to the campaign not only to help people in need for themselves, said Trevino, but also to show that UH cares about the community.

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