EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley focuses on the WHOLE CHILD and the WHOLE FAMILY. We believe that the earlier we can reach a child, the better chance they have at succeeding in school. Our focus is on Early Childhood Education, birth to sixth grade.
The United Way will invest in children beginning at birth in schools and districts within the Mahoning Valley where the need is the greatest.
We established several strategies to ensure success:
1. Ensure children ages 0-5 receive quality learning opportunities
2. Support a strong transition into Kindergarten
3. Invest in results-focused programming for students Kindergarten - Third Grade
4. Ensure future success: invest in students beyond Third Grade
5. Success For Life
United Way Lead Education Initiatives dedicated to these strategies:
Success After 6 is an early childhood education initiative bringing together school and community resources to provide an intentional focus on academics, health and social services, as well as social and emotional development. Success After 6 provides wraparound services to the students and their families, including an after-school program, in-school tutoring, health screenings, enrichment opportunities, mentoring, food pantries, clothing drives, parent engagement opportunities, and so much more.
Success By 6 focuses on children entering Kindergarten. The four week program runs every summer in 19 school districts across the Mahoning Valley. Certified teachers spend 16 hours a week with the students preparing them for their first time in the classroom. Success By 6 program not only focus on academics, but it also helps the children with the social and emotional transition into school. The first days and weeks of Kindergarten could be a big change for a child coming from pre-school environment or from the home.
Imagination Library provides free age-appropriate books to children birth to age 5 living in Mahoning County. Dolly Parton's Imagination Library mails registered children a book once a month directly to their home. Through our United Way's funding, we have provided more than 100,000 free books to our Valleys children. But we did not want this program to end with the free books. We partner with the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, local school districts, and Youngstown State University Students to help promote the love of literacy. Together, we host Literacy Nights at the library and schools where we offer parents and guardians tips on how to best read to their children. Through our Reading Buddy Volunteer Program, we send volunteers to pre-schools and early learning centers to read to and do literacy related activities with the young students.
The Young Women's Mentorship Program pairs 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students up with professional female mentors. The most important part of this program is that the students go through these sessions with their mentors who attend the weekly sessions. This allows the two to form a positive relationship that often extends beyond the program.
The Promising Men Mentorship Program is a United Way Initiative in Youngstown Community School. The program will seek to partner successful African-American and Hispanic men from the local community as positive role models and mentors for 6th and 7th grade boys.
United Way funds 51 programs run by 35 Partner Agencies