Living United to improve education in Champaign County

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Preschool children at a table

Every day, people inChampaign Countystruggle with education problems that may seem impossible to solve. 

Children starting school without the skills necessary to succeed. Kids who can barely read by third grade, and who are far more likely to quit school later. Youth who don’t go on to college or vocational training. These are tough problems that threaten the future of individuals and communities.   

And it’s just gotten worse during the pandemic, with parents andeducatorsworried about kids whove lost ground with virtual learning especiallychildrenof color from low-wagefamilieswho may not have access to computers or the Internet.Arecent study by United Way's partner, McKinsey & Co., estimates that the shift to remote school in the U.S. has set students of color back by three to five months, compared to a lag of one to three months for white students. The academic losses are accumulating this school year, experts say. 

That’s whyUnited Way isworkingto improve education for everyone - starting with our youngest students. Were engaging employees as reading volunteers. Were working with communities to share the importance of attending school every day. We’re providing books and support to our schools. And we’re following the data, putting an extra focus on supporting our Black and low-income students and families.

Our Early Grade Level Success work will help thousands of children in our community. Together, we’ll provide:

  • Free Getting Ready for Kindergarten calendars for every 3, 4, and 5 year old, in English, Spanish and French
  • Quality, affordable early childcare and developmental supports
  • One-on-one tutoring for kindergartners who need a little extra help in reading or math
  • Born Learning Trails in 10 local parks across the county
  • Top-quality afterschool educational programming and summer learning supports for grade-schoolers
  • Support for and coordination with program families to deepen community relationships

United Way does more than raise money.  We are the problem solvers, the hand raisers. We are the game changers. We surround a community’s most critical problems—and we fight. With our partners—including180+ companies and 1,500 Pillars in Champaign Countywere offering hope and help where its needed the most.

To build a community where every child can achieve their full potential, we must start with early education.When we Live United, were fighting for a stronger start in school to supporta better tomorrow.

*From UWW’s most recent Global Results Framework, foundhere