Breaking Barriers in Education

United Way of the Lowcountry hosts inaugural Power of the Purse event

By Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer

Featured in Lowcountry Weekly

February 12, 2014

United Way LogoWe all go about our everyday, numb to the monotony at times but peacefully aware of our responsibility, especially as parents. The alarm rings at 6am, we rise to make our coffee and read the paper of yesterday’s happenings at the city and county levels. We’ve already heard about the national events on our phones, on our computers and exploited all over tv the evening before. We contemplate the world’s issues, society, good and evil, and then we awake from the daydream to get back to what’s important, what’s essential, what’s first…being a parent. We wake our children with a nudge, a sweet song or, if you’re like me, a lights on, blanket off and a “Get out of bed…it’s time to go to school!” And we do it, day in and day out.

We are fortunate that our government, in most cases, is held accountable for our children’s education. And we are held accountable for their well-being. They go to school, teachers teach and they learn to the best of their ability. It’s our jobs as parents to provide necessities and create the best possible environment so that they can learn without barriers and hopefully excel.

That’s what we aim for. It’s not what always happens. I know. I’m a single mother of two who occasionally finds herself strapped financially. I’m doing the best I can; but on any given month, I can be dealt that unexpected hand of added costs or even worse, calamity or illness.

It happens every day in Beaufort County. Somewhere, walking down a hallway of a local school is a student in need of help that goes beyond what might be available at home. The United Way knows this, because they’ve had that student, or that student’s parents, coming to them when they have exhausted themselves looking for resources.

A child with a toothache who needs the tooth extracted before his pain increases and his grades slip further. A mother who cannot afford the new tire that will help her get her children to school every day. A father who is working two jobs and struggling to pay for the glasses his 7-year old needs to see at school and a computer his 16-year old needs to research and write papers from home.

This is where the United Way of the Lowcountry is able to step in – money for the dental procedure, paying for the tire, the eyeglasses and computer come directly from its Helpline fund, helping remove some of the financial barriers to a solid education.

And that’s where YOU can help.

The Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way of the Lowcountry will hold its inaugural “Power Of The Purse” fundraising event on Sunday, March 9th at 6:00pm at the Oldfield Clubhouse.

The event will feature an open bar with signature cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres, music, and both a live and silent auction. The event will be emceed by Deanna Bowdish and feature items for auction such as designer purses, dinner packages, resort destination packages, and other valuable items.

All proceeds from the event will help fund the Women’s Leadership Council’s “Breaking Barriers to Education” fund. This fund that provides flexibility for the United Way to address issues not covered by other emergency providers in regards to children and parents referred to the agency by a school social worker.

“The funds raised from this event will help establish the United Way’s Breaking Barriers to Education Fund, which will help local schoolchildren and their parents. With the financial flexibility this provides, the United Way can address issues that aren’t currently covered by other providers,” said Gloria Duryea, Chair of the Celebrate Committee within the Women’s Leadership Council of United Way of the Lowcountry.

“We’re excited about the difference we can make in the lives of local families and what this event means for that going forward,” Duryea adds.

The Women’s Leadership Council will also present their “Woman of the Year” award during the event, honoring a local woman who best exemplifies the service and leadership to be an agent of change in the lowcountry.

Tickets are $65 per person and are available online at For more information call the United Way office at (843) 982-3040.

A preview of the auction items are available on the United Way of the Lowcountry website at

A preview of some of the exciting auction items are:

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About Wendy

Wendy Pollitzer is a versatile writer living in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

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"I love Wendy Pollitzer’s writing. Her instincts are remarkable, her nose for truth infallible. I can’t pick up a journal or magazine that she’s written for without going straight to the table of contents in search of her piece. What I think is so interesting about her work is that she really believes in what she’s doing, in getting it right. She’s very, very good. "— Pat Conroy (Prince of Tides, South of Broad) 1945-2016