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Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. Local infants, children, and youth need nurturing, support and opportunities to succeed in school and life in order to reach their full potential. Children who receive a quality education are more likely to graduate from high school and be better prepared for the workforce.
Through the community aspirations process held two years ago, 300 community participants identified education and economic self-sufficiency as the most important issues facing our five-county region. This information was valuable to United Way's Board of Directors in the identification of core priorities, the development of our strategic plan and clear definition of goals in the areas of education, income and health.
By 2020, we seek to cut by half the number of young people who drop out of high school. We have begun investing in educational programs and initiatives that increase child literacy rates, help close the achievement gap, and provides young adults with the skills and resources needed to ensure a successful transition into adulthood. Through Schools of Hope, United Way is leading the effort to eliminate the reading achievement gap by helping our local children to master their reading skills.
During the 2011 volunteer-led Strategic Fund Investment Process, the following investments were made to support educational programs and initiatives that would increase the number of children entering kindergarten healthy and ready to learn, as well as have students reading at grade level by the end of third grade:
Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County - Pasitos is a program for Spanish-speaking parents and their three and four year olds who are not attending pre-school. The goal of the program is to help prepare children to be successful in school and provide parents with tools that will maximize their impact as the first and most important teacher and primary advocate for their child. Funding from United Way will allow Pasitos to expand from 9 to 13 groups at new and existing sites.
North Bay Children's Center (NBCC) - School Readiness and Family Literacy Activities in Sonoma County are designed to increase reading and writing in the home, and to prepare pre-schoolers for a successful transition to kindergarten. Together the three sites serve 87 pre-schoolers from low-income families. Funding from United Way will allow three NBCC sites to incorporate Raising a Reader, Handwriting Without Tears, and Alpha Friends into their pre-school curriculum.
We all win when a child succeeds in school. Join United Way and its partners to help our youth.
Education Reports and Resources:
On Our Watch - Sonoma County Education Report
Paying Later, the High Cost of Failing to Invest in Young Children
Be A Champion For Education
Your contribution creates real, lasting change, by supporting United Way's efforts to ensure every child receives the education they need
Lend your voice in supporting key issues affecting education. Advocate for important policies and legislation. Share what you know with key business and community leaders who can influence public policy as well as getting your friends and family involved.
Donate your time and expertise to tutor children. We can help you find great opportunities to make a difference.
Together we can make our community stronger by ensuring our children reach their fullest potential.