Welcome to United Way of the Wine Country

United Way of the Wine Country has been dedicated to improving lives locally for 50 years. Everyone deserves a good life: a quality education that leads to a stable job, income that can support a family through retirement, and good health. To create lasting change, United Way focuses on solving the underlying causes of common problems related to education, income and health. We are committed to achieving lasting solutions - not just quick fixes - for our entire community.

Schools of Hope

When kids can’t read, they can’t succeed. Schools of Hope is an Early Grade Reading Initiative that helps children build the critical reading skills needed to succeed in school and life. Through Schools of Hope, we recruit, train and place community volunteers in the schools. The tutor works one-on-one with Kindergarten through third grade students during the school day to supplement the work they are doing in the classroom.  

If you live in Sonoma County, click “VOLUNTEER” below to sign-up. If you live in Sonoma County and have any questions before you apply, please contact Community Benefit Coordinator Ana Gouveia at 707-528-4485 ext. 103 or ana.gouveia@unitedwaywinecountry.org. If you live in Mendocino County or Lake County and would like to volunteer, contact North Coast Opportunities Volunteer Network by calling (707) 462-1959, or email Joan Reynolds at jreynolds@ncoinc.org.


Please see below for a list of winter/spring 2017-2018 school year orientation dates. While we do not require you to RSVP to attend, we encourage you to do so in the volunteer application (accessible by clicking “VOLUNTEER NOW,” above). 


Why is Schools of Hope needed?

In Sonoma County, less than half (45%) of third-graders currently read proficiently. In Mendocino County, less than a third (30%) read at proficiency. In Lake County, less than a quarter (24%) read at proficiency. Furthermore, more than three-quarters of English Language Learners read below proficiency in Sonoma County (90% in Mendocino County and 86% in Lake County).

Increasing third grade reading proficiency is a core goal of the initiative since it is a strong predictor of so many successes later in life. Children not proficient in reading by the end of third grade are four times less likely to graduate by age 19. Low early reading proficiency is also correlated to incarceration rates and is a predictor of adult income.

How does Schools of Hope aim to fix this problem?

We engage community volunteers to raise third grade reading proficiency to at least 90% by 2020. According to the United Way 2011 Education Overview, tutoring programs are most successful when students are seen one-on-one over 25 times in a school year. Schools of Hope students are seen twice a week for at least 12 weeks.

Is Schools of Hope successful?

An evaluation of Schools of Hope by Sonoma State University in 2014 found that first and second grade students who received tutoring showed reading proficiency growth between 28% and 50% higher than non-Schools of Hope students who started with similar scores. You can view the last four years of program evaluations by Sonoma State University at the following links:

Teachers, students, and volunteers alike love Schools of Hope! 94% of our tutors surveyed in 2016 reported that they would return to tutor again the following school year. 70% of classroom teachers expressed they were very satisfied with the program.

The Schools of Hope program has been recognized as a promising practice by Upsteam Investments.

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Are there Spanish-language volunteer opportunities with Schools of Hope?

Grace Hudson is a SOH-participating English/Spanish dual immersion school in Ukiah. If you are fluent in Spanish and would like to tutor a first grade student in Spanish, please contact Joan Reynolds at (707) 462-1959 or jreynolds@ncoinc.org.

Quick resources (Click here for Schools of Hope Tutor Resources):

Schools of Hope FAQs

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Schools of Hope Adoption

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Schools of Hope List

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Schools of Hope Tutor Resources

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Schools of Hope Site Coordinator Resources

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Contact United Way of Wine Country's Customer Support at customer.service@unitedwaywinecountry.org