United Way works to promote education for all children and students
Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. However, many factors affect a child's ability to perform in the classroom. This is why United Way partners with many different agencies and organizations to work towards preparing children for kindergarten, reading at grade level, graduating high school, and pursing their educational and vocational goals. The trends in education are not always promising. In fact, more than 1.2 million children drop out each year. The cost? These trends are reversible, but only when communities and public, private and nonprofit sectors work together. More than $312 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over their lifetimes.1
To improve the number of students in Jo Daviess and Stephenson Counties that are reading at grade level by third grade and to promote "kindergarten readiness" to ensure students start their educational careers off on the right foot.
We can’t focus on 3rd grade alone. Often times the "risk factors" that affect a child's ability to perform at grade level are present from an early age. The sooner we reach this child, their parents, and others in their support system the better chance we have in promoting a positive outcome. United Way's model focuses on supportive communities, effective schools and strong families — strategies and approaches rooted in research. Tackling the education challenge requires reframing education on a birth to 21 continuum.
The United Way of NWIL has provided children access to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. This book gifting program provies more thant 2000 books each month from birth until their 5th birthday. This program has shown to increase a child's vocabulary and better prepare them for kindergarten. Learn more about the program here.
Amity Learning Center assisted 100% of their preschool children to rate at “proficiency level” upon exit from pre-school based on the Teaching Strategies Gold assessment. Comparatively, only 13% of preschoolers who live in poverty in Stephenson County are considered ready for kindergarten.
Boys and Girls Club provided academic enrichment programs during the school year and summer. 90 participants attended 30 or more days. Teachers of 79.6% of these individuals noted an improvement in academic performance.
Boy Scouts provided 859 boys with a variety of programs and activities to build confidence, learn life skills, and citizenship. These short term outcomes help to lead to increased leadership skills, healthier communities, and a stronger literacy rate.
How You Can Help
To reach our goal, we need your help. The strategies proven to work are those that connect communities to their schools: parent involvement; literacy volunteers in the classroom; mentors for disadvantaged students; business leaders engaged in early childhood advocacy. Volunteer to help.
1 Figure according to Communities in Schools, one of America’s leading drop-out prevention partnerships.