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PROGRESS 2019: Going above and beyond

Jakubcin family proud of impact they’ve made on Alpena, Northeast Michigan

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Alison and Steve Jakubcin stand in front of a water tower in Alpena near the skate park, while displaying a United Way banner. The Jakubcins have both been an instrumental part in giving back to the community of Alpena through United Way of Northeast Michigan.

ALPENA — It is safe to say that Alpena has its own power couple.

Though maybe not as famous as they want to be, Steve and Alison Jakubcin are accomplished and well-known not just around Alpena, but all of Northeast Michigan — and for all the right reasons.

The Jakubcin family has been a driving force behind the ongoing success that is the United Way of Northeast Michigan, a nonprofit responsible for coordinating and fundraising money to help other various nonprofits make the area a better place.

Both Steve and Alison were once co-chairs and got involved with United Way four years ago.

“The community has always been very supportive of us and I feel like it’s a great community,” Alison said. “There’s so many great people, and we just wanted to be a small part in helping Northeast Michigan grow and help these agencies that United Way supports thrive a little more.”

The Jakubcins have helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars while working with United Way and giving back to the community.

Not only does the couple enjoy giving back, but their work with United Way gave them an opportunity be a part of fundraisers of all different kinds, meet new people, and raise money for a community with which the couple loves being so heavily involved.

“I think we make a pretty good team,” Alison said. “We’ve been able to feed off of each other and be supportive. It’s really nice to have a partner going into it that is as passionate about it as you are. I feel like (Steve’s) connections and my connections are what made it really successful for us.”

The Jakubcins were both busy, yet flexible with their daily schedules and received tremendous support from their employers, which made being such a big part of United Way possible.

Steve is employed by Cliff Anschuetz Chevrolet in Alpena, and Alison works for the Alpena Alcona Area Credit Union. Despite busy work schedules and the involvement with United Way taking up much of their time, the Jakubcin family always makes time for different events going on the community and taking time to travel and support the rest of their family in the process.

“We both have the backing of our employers — that is huge,” Steve said. “Not everyone has that, so we’re able to be flexible with us and both of our employers are also heavily involved with United Way of Northeast Michigan, which makes it that much more special for us. It’s great to know that not only do we as a couple have each other’s back, but our employers are behind us and support us. It does get busy, it does get hectic, but the responsibility never gets lost in that.”

There has never been a goal or an amount of money that needed to be raised that the Jakubcin family couldn’t reach. In fact, more often than not, Steve and Alison went above and beyond the goal that was set for them.

“There was pressure on us, and it could have been easy for the goals to remain the same, but we always felt like we wanted to improve and do the absolute best we could,” Steve said. “All we’re doing when we go beyond our set goals is raising more money for our agencies. We’re competitive and took making a difference in this community we love a big deal.”

The biggest enjoyment that the Jakubcin family gets out of being such an important part of United Way is the fact that they’re helping everyone in the community, from senior citizens, children, and people in need.

Along with Alpena, the Jakubcin’s work has made an impact in Alcona and Montmorency counties. The couple has also helped with mini grants in Presque Isle County, and they will help communities outside of those areas and get support for many other surrounding counties, as well.

“The biggest benefits from working with United Way has been the people we’ve met, stories we heard and the impact it’s made,” Alison said. “We’ve met some of our good friends through getting involved.”

The Jakubcin family believes it is important to stay involved not only because they are making a difference through their involvement with United Way, but because the couple believes in Alpena.

“We really, honestly believe in Alpena,” Steve said. “And it’s not just the fun events, but it’s just these crazy little things that people are trying to do that make our community just a little bit better. It makes it fun for us to support all of our friends and all of the different people around town that are trying to make Alpena a better place. It’s easy to support a community that supports you.”

“We’re both very invested in our community,” Alison said. “It’s a special place. Our families are from here, we found each other here, and it’s just a great place to live and it’s important for us to get involved and give back. We’re so fortunate to be a reason why the community of Alpena is such a special place.”

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