By Lana Donath

First published Thursday, September 15, 2016 in The Baytown Sun

United Way of Greater Baytown Area and Chambers County’s “Women United” hosted its third annual “Power of Your Purse” breakfast at SpringHill Suites Marriott Wednesday morning.

The event welcomed nearly 200 guests and raised over $6,000, which went to support mental health counseling for children and families through DePelchin Children’s Center in Baytown.

The fundraiser was held to bring community and business leaders together to learn about issues facing our community, specifically wealth disparity.

Susan Losavio, safety engineer at ExxonMobil and member of Women United of United Way, opened the event, highlighting the importance of being with United Way.

“Giving back improves our physical and mental health, helps us build relationships, and helps us make new friends,” Losavio said. “Not to mention all the good it does for the community.”

Next, Donna Mohlman introduced her “Book Buddies” program, followed by the keynote speaker for the morning, Ruby Payne.

Payne is the founder of aha! Process, a company that provides workshops, publications and consulting services to help improve lives and build success in communities. She is also an author, publisher, and public speaker.

She highlighted the problems facing the lower, middle and upper classes, and encouraged discussion among the breakfast guests. They noted the different struggles each group faced and how to deal with said issues.

“Our time and money are valuable,” said Payne. “How you spend your time determines what you know. We all have 24 hours in a day. But when people are in poverty, they have less time to focus on their resources, and therefore have less resources in general.”

“If we can start to help the families that truly need it, we will begin to see a difference in the whole community.”

Julie Crowe, manager of prevention services for the DePelchin Children’s Center, and Ruby Payne, founder of aha! Process, were both guest speakers at the Women United “Power of your Purse” event held at SpringHill Suites Marriot on Wednesday. Photo credit: Baytown Sun photo by Lana Donath.

Julie Crowe, manager of prevention services at DePelchin Children’s Center, spoke next, thanking the audience for their support.

“What you are doing is helping us provide these wonderful and much needed services,” Crowe said.

Patti O’Neill-Burn, United Way board president, closed the event and encouraged people to get involved.

“Women United is about being aware of the issues in our community, taking the time to educate ourselves about them, and giving at the leadership level,” said. “Any donation or support to United Way makes an impact on our community.”

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