United Way works to end America’s education crisis
Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. But with more than 1.2 million children dropping out each year, America faces an education crisis. The cost? More than $312 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over their lifetimes. These trends are reversible, but only when communities and public, private and nonprofit sectors work together.
To reverse poor educational outcomes in our community the United Way of Genesee County is starting early. We can’t focus on high school alone. High school dropouts are 12 years in the making, usually starting with early childhood education behind schedule. Our goal is that Children (ages 0 – 8) access high quality, early learning literacy programs that promote support and encouragement for educational success from parents, advocates, and mentors.
For those already past the age of 8, the United Way is supporting after-school and other mentor initiatives that are high quality, enriching programs aligned with school day curriculum.
In 2014 the United Way of Genesee County launched A to Z Learn with Me! A partnership with Genesys Health Systems, Hurley Medical Center and McLaren Flint, A to Z Learn with Me! ensures every baby leaves the maternity ward with the materials they need to start their love for learning early! This year alone, the United Way plans to distribute 6,000 books and child development materials to Genesee County’s newest residents and their parents.
Club Connect is a reading oasis for Title 1 schools. Through this program schools receive a packet that contains: $5,000 worth of books (reading levels K-3 grades), book cases, listening library, colorful bean bag chairs, large carpet; stereo listening center with headphones, and a grant for the principal to use at their discretion to promote reading by third grade. Since its launch last year, the United Way has created four Club Connect sites in the Flint, Carman-Ainsworth and Beecher school districts. Three of the four sites were launched in partnership with Dallas Cowboy Corner Back and Flint native Brandon Carr.
With Community Development Block Grant dollars, the UWGC provides grants to small neighborhood organizations providing recreational activities to underserved City of Flint children.
In addition to funds raised for Books for Babies, grants totaling more than $412,801 were awarded to:
•Big Brother Big Sisters of Greater Flint (Community Based Mentoring)
•Boys and Girls Club of Greater Flint (After School Academic Success)
•Boy Scouts of America – Water & Woods Service Council (Urban Scouting Initiative)
•Fenton Area Public Schools (JumpStar Parent-Child Programs)
•Genesee Area Focus Fund (Teen Quest Pre-Employment and Leadership Training)
•Genesee County Circuit Court (Attendance Court)
•Genesee Intermediate School District (SKIP - Successful Kids = Involved Parents)
•Girls Scouts of Southeastern Michigan (Leadership Experience)
•Linden Community Schools (Linden's Parent as Teachers)
•Priority Children (School Readiness Plan)
•Shelter of Flint (Uniquely Me! at Shelter of Flint)