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Our story is, ultimately, about the stories of people whose lives we have affected for the better. These success stories represent the most important outcomes of our work and the spirit of United Way of Otsego County.


Heather McKinnon’s Story


Sometimes in a community all it takes is someone to listen and someone to care.

After years of struggles with addictions, Heather exited her last treatment program in late February, 2016. She connected with our local recovery community where she found guidance and support, and she then landed a job at the Alpine Chocolat Haus. “At my interview I was just honest about my past, my struggles and failures,” she said. “After they hired me, the owner told me that my honesty was what convinced him to give me the job. It’s amazing what happens when I do the right thing. Doing the right thing has taken me so very far.”


In June of 2016 she found her own apartment one block from her place of work, and the United Way helped her with a security deposit so she could be settled. She moved in to her new place on July 1st.


That wasn’t all the good news that July, 2016 brought for Heather. Once settled she was promoted to store manager and applied for custody of her twelve-year-old daughter, Kloie, which was granted. The Child Protective Services worker assigned to Heather’s case – a worker who had known Heather for years and years – was so impressed with Heather’s growth and success that she intervened with the court, and Heather got the good news long before she expected it.


We interviewed Heather within days of this good news, and she arrived at the United Way with her eight-year-old son, Kaleb, to tell her story. Kaleb’s great pride in his mom was perfectly clear. We, as well, take great pride in Heather and are pleased to know that we had a part in her current success. It is a privilege to tell of her success and Heather knows that uniting resources helps build a community of success stories.

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