Our North Star

TeddyTeddy is one of the thousands of North Stars who guide United Way’s work. His gratitude and warmth shine through even during the toughest of times, of which there have been plenty.

As a child, Teddy lived in a dozen foster homes. But his childhood circumstances did not define his future – his determination did. As a young man, he graduated from high school with honors, earned his associate’s degree, and won a scholarship for his vocal talents.

Teddy worked as an executive chef and manager in the restaurant industry for 45 years. But when a debilitating medical condition forced him to retire on disability, he found that his determination alone was not enough.

Although he had always been diligent in paying his bills, they were stacking up and he was at risk of having his utilities turned off.

Teddy learned who to call for help thanks to the Clinic-to-Community Linkage program launched by United Way, Better Health Partnership and its partners. During an office visit at MetroHealth’s J. Glen Smith Clinic, he found out about United Way 211.

Through 211, Teddy was introduced to Katie, a referral specialist. Together they found a solution to address his outstanding bills.

Today, Teddy continues to receive access to the resources he needs, including food pantries and fresh produce markets, thanks to Katie, who he still speaks with every other week. “Katie has been such a jewel,” said Teddy. “She’s always trying to find programs that can help me.”

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