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One woman’s perspective
Lesley Francis United Way
Lesley Francis, second from right, joins others on a panel of speakers at the regional United Way event in 2019. Francis serves on the United Way of Bryan County Advisory Board. Photo provided.

I have always believed it is vital to give back to society and have done my best to contribute to our community since relocating to Richmond Hill from London, England, over a decade ago. I am honored to be on The United Way of Bryan County Advisory Board and to co-chair the annual fundraising campaign. With a mission to “improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good,” I am an enthusiastic supporter of this wonderful organization.

In addition, I am reassured by their thorough application process, which allocates funds to meet our community’s most pressing needs. United Way of the Coastal Empire in Bryan County is working to advance the common good by focusing on basic human needs programs and services. Did you know that this week, United Way of the Coastal Empire launches its 2020 Women Who Rule campaign?

Funds raised through this initiative provide access to dependable transportation for women and children who need it across our region. Last year, this Women United transportation fund helped almost 2,000 women in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty counties maintain independence for themselves and their families.

I know that, as a woman, I am fortunate to have been born, raised and educated at this time in history – in a democratic society and with enough resources and support to enable me to learn and then earn for myself.

I also know that not all women have been as fortunate as me. I therefore see great merit in helping others in a variety of ways. Dependable and reliable transportation is fundamental to independence in today’s society. It enables all of us find and keep employment, as well as gain access to services like healthcare and training for ourselves and our families.

From a personal perspective, easy access to transportation has been a building block of my personal happiness and success on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In London, the ease of using local buses and the metro system made me employable and able to find my own way home safely from an early age.

I then passed my driving test in both England and, 20 years later, in the USA, so I can now say I am able to drive reasonably well on both sides of the road!

Please join me in raising awareness and funds for critical funding for bus passes, gas cards, medical transport and minor car repairs to ensure women in our region can get where they need to go.

Visit for more information or to donate.

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