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.
We are currently at the Youngstown Community School and Taft Elementary School in the Youngstown City School District. Our United Way continues to work with educators in the Valley to identify school districts that need and want this type of programming.
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.
Success By 6 is currently at 22 different school sites, and serves 700 students each summer.
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. It's a three-part program that takes place once a week during the school year. The students go through Vision Pursue, which is a social-emotional program that helps them boost their self-esteem and work on behavior issues such as bullying. They also take part in Junior Achievement, which is a financial education program that also exposes them to various career opportunities. Finally, they experience a special speaker series based on topics of their choice from exercise and fitness to beauty and fashion tips appropriate for their age. 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.
Click here to learn more about Young Women's Mentorship Program.
United Way funds 44 programs run by 31 Partner Agencies