United Way’s Tag Team Approach to School Readiness

Spotlight on Excellence     June 2013

 
 

United Way’s Tag Team Approach to School Readiness

 
Early learning benefits more than just the students at Hartford Public Schools. Strong communities are built when an emphasis is placed on school readiness and preparing children to succeed.  United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut’s two volunteer affinity groups give their time and talent to help strengthen communities like Hartford through the support of programs that approach school readiness directly, help families become financially stable and better equip students to learn.
 

A Family Affair

 
United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) understands that family financial independence is one aspect of a child’s life that can impact their ability to succeed in school. When a family is not able to meet their basic needs, it can jeopardize a student’s consistent path to growth and development.
 
Advancing the common good through financially independent families is the motivation behind the work of the WLC. Since its start in 2010, it has opened two community school-based family financial centers. These centers are an innovative approach to family financial stability and are at the core of WLC’s Family Financial Stability Initiative. The centers are located at the Alfred E. Burr School and the John C. Clark Elementary and Middle School, — both in Hartford.
 
“The work the WLC does in educating women on how to manage their finances effectively is now more critical than ever to building strong, independent families,” says Eileen Castolene, a member of the WLC Steering Commiitee.
 
On June 3, the WLC held its second annual Power of the Purse event to support this work. The event featured a silent auction with more than 150 items, including handbags and accessories. In 2012, the inaugural event helped to fund the Family Financial Center at Alfred E. Burr School. Planning for the third annual Power of the Purse event is already underway and the WLC doesn’t show signs of slowing down. To find out more about United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council, visit them online.
 

Emerging Leaders’ Targeted Approach

 
United Way’s Emerging Leaders Society (ELS), started in 2012, approaches school readiness more directly. Emerging leaders — young professionals who are committed to positive social change in the community — engage in monthly after-school youth development programs. Working with students from COMPASS Youth Collaborative, Inc. at Burns Latino Studies Academy and The Village for Families and Children, Inc. at Alfred E. Burr School, ELS keeps students engaged beyond school hours.
 
Emerging Leaders keep students engaged beyond the school year, as well. With events like “Brighten the Way,” which took place on May 22, ELS raises funds to purchase books for Hartford students. The books help to keep students reading over the summer, preventing summer learning loss. 
 
If you would like to improve lives by becoming an Emerging Leaders, visit them online.
 

United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut

 
United Way is a dynamic, year-round movement focused on advancing the common good in our communities. United Way has the unique ability, vision and resources to bring together diverse stakeholders around a community vision of creating positive change to achieve long-lasting results. United Way Community Investment – the choice for positive change – is the giving option focused on advancing the common good.  It takes all of us working together to create change, which includes our partner agencies, along with hundreds of businesses, and tens of thousands of individuals across our 40-town region. For more information, visit www.unitedwayinc.org.

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