United Way News: 2013-2014 Outcomes Demonstrate Strong Focus on Early Literacy

Our community partner, United Way, is recently published a news release about their efforts to promote early literacy. Read their news release below:

United Way of Southeast Missouri has a strong focus on literacy as part of its education initiatives. Success by 6, United Way’s early childhood education initiative, distributed 811 books during the 2013-2014 school year, nearly doubling the 440 books reportedly distributed in the previous year. These were in addition to the 405 Destination Kindergarten books distributed to six area school districts. United Way’s GRACES Women’s Council funded the purchase of an additional 700 books for the Blanchard Elementary School and Scott City Elementary School Birthday Cart program which provides one free book to each student in the school during their birthday month.

Results from the DIAL-3 (Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning-3), given to Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students in Cape Public schools, indicate Language as the weakest of four skill areas. In response, Success by 6 gave a large allotment of books to Parents as Teachers and Building Blocks, home visitation programs with a strong literacy and school readiness emphasis, in addition to its typical recipients as part of their Born Learning events. Also new to receive books this year were WIC (Women, Infant, and Children’s) and Head Start. Statistics indicate that over sixty percent of low-income families have no books at all in their homes for their children, contributing to low literacy skills and poor academic performance among these populations.

Janice Jones, Program Director for Success by 6, cites a one-time donation of $500 from a Southeast Missouri State University student led crowdfunding project, for enabling the program to increase its book purchases this past year. Success by 6 purchases books at a significantly reduced price through FirstBooks, a program that provides new books and educational resources at deeply reduced prices — and for free — to schools and programs serving children in need. The increase in donations this year, along with purchasing power that First Books offers, made a significant impact in Success by 6’s ability to increase the number of books distributed.

In addition, Success by 6 has developed a “Destination Kindergarten” book for children within a year of entering kindergarten. The book provides information for parents on skills their child needs to have in order to be ready for Kindergarten and gives them numerous activities to help with the development of these skills. It also has pages the children can color featuring local places. This book is free to anyone who has a pre-kindergarten child.

To join your United Way in improving the early literacy of the youth in our community, please drop books off to their office at 430A Broadway, Cape Girardeau or visit their website, www.unitedwayofsemo.org to make a donation to their Education impact area.

About United Way of Southeast Missouri
The Mission of the United Way of Southeast Missouri is to serve as the leader in uniting people and resources to build a stronger and healthier community. We focus on the building blocks of a strong family and a good life: Education, Income and Health. Our proactive methods create lasting change in the community that will continuously reduce the need for emergency services. We envision a community that LIVES UNITED by Giving, Advocating and Volunteering to improve this wonderful place where we live and work. For more information please visit www.UnitedWayofSEMO.org or call 573-334-9634.

About United Way Worldwide
United Way of Worldwide (UWW) is an international organization dedicated to leading the United Way movement executed by 2,000 locally governed United Ways in the United States and 46 countries and territories around the world. Building on more than a century of service as a preeminent community-based fundraiser and facilitator, UWW mobilizes more than 2.5 million volunteers and raises $5.2 billion worldwide. Together, the system will build stronger, healthier and ultimately more sustainable communities. For more information about UWW, visit www.liveunited.org.