- Your United Way
- Partner Agencies
- Campaign Central
- Community Impact
- Annual Report
- Contact Us
Some 80 percent of United Ways are making children a focus – in funding, community change work and policy advocacy. Many are doing it with Success By 6® coalitions, galvanizing communities to raise awareness of early learning, support families, and push for programs, budgets and laws improving young children's lives.
- 46 percent of today’s kindergarteners start school behind
- Some 7 of 10 fourth-graders can’t read at grade level to graduate
- Nearly 1 in 3 students in high school today won’t graduate
Quality Child Care
Children learn best in loving, nurturing relationships and through everyday experiences. That hard-wires the brain for future learning, especially in the early years. Whether children are at home, with relatives or friends, or in childcare – the quality of early education is key to later school success. United Ways are leading dozens of pilot programs to improve the quality of childcare and equipping parents to make the best choice for their family.
United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta is involving everyone from pastors to parents in its efforts to significantly improve the quality of early care and education – wherever the child is. Churches are hosting parenting classes; hairdressers are offering educational material for grandparents; childcare centers are getting accredited, and turnover among childcare teachers has dropped 30 percent.
Children entering kindergarten with skills they need to succeed are more likely to graduate from high school and become productive workers. But almost half of America’s kindergarteners are behind – those from low-wage households by two years. Most will not catch up.
More than 660 United Ways and their partners are carrying out the Born Learning public engagement campaign. It helps parents, caregivers and communities support early learning. Public service advertising, a resource-rich Web site (www.bornlearning.org) and educational material (all in English and Spanish) offer fun, concrete ideas to help young children learn.
Some 60 percent of the low-income children in Chattanooga, Tennessee, were entering school without critical skills. In response, United Way of Greater Chattanooga created a public awareness campaign, a parent help line and a one-stop resource center, and engaged 50 community partners to provide information and hands-on help in poor neighborhoods. Parents lacked literacy skills to read to their children, so the partners created 23 mini-libraries and a mobile Reading Van. Seven years later, 30 percent more at-risk children are developmentally on track – and coming to school ready to succeed.
With more than 1.2 million children dropping out each year, America faces a dropout crisis. The cost? More than $312 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over their lifetimes. according to Communities in Schools, one of America’s leading drop-out prevention partnerships.) These trends are reversible, but only when communities and public, private and nonprofit sectors work together.
United Ways are funding mentoring programs and after-school initiatives, putting volunteers in classrooms and supporting dropout prevention programs. The United Way of Chittenden County in Burlington, Vermont, cut drop-out rates in half by leading a truancy project with Burlington schools, law enforcement, juvenile justice, judicial, and human services
To ensure that children get early exposure to books – which helps build literacy skills and is a factor in graduation rate – United Ways are boosting books and literacy programs.
That’s why the United Way of Central Minnesota’s Success By 6 launched Imagination Library three years ago. Today, 7,500 children under 5 receive a book each month in the mail, and strong community support is expected to raise that number to 10,000. Local businesses are promoting the initiative and encouraging their employees to sign up.