The knowledge and skills kids learn today will set them up for long-term success, including college and career readiness. Supporting all kids now helps make our schools, workforce, and community stronger. Summer programs provide so much more to kids in our community than a chance to catch up academically. These programs provide the opportunity for children and youth to reach their full potential.
Education is one of our top strategic priorities at United Way - 46% of our funding supports educational programming. Getting kids ready for kindergarten, reading at grade level by third grade, and graduating on time with skills to be career and life-ready is critical to a community’s overall success. Our whole community places a strong emphasis on education and support systems for children and families.
United Way is providing wrap-around support to ensure our children learn to read and read to learn! To kick off summer and invest in literacy for our children and youth, United Way has launched our Keep Kids Thriving campaign. This campaign is dedicated to providing the tools and resources for young children to help prevent the summer slide. Did you know that summer learning loss, which is what happens when schools are out and young minds sit idle, accounts for two-thirds of the achievement gap in reading between low-income children and their middle-income peers by ninth grade?
The good news is that we can close the gap and help students stay on track, even when they are out of school, through our literacy programs - Power Lunch, Summer Reading, and our Little Free Libraries! United Way of Northwest Georgia is making sure kids have access to books and enriching activities, a caring adult to help them improve their reading skills, and good nutrition to help focus the mind.
This summer United Way of Northwest Georgia is partnering with Dalton Public Schools, Murray County Schools, and Whitfield County Schools. United Way is providing books and volunteers at school lunch sites to help prevent the summer slide. United Way’s Young Leaders Society, Youth United, Women’s Leadership Council, Together Unidos, and Volunteer Center Council have all adopted a site. The volunteers visit the site weekly, ensuring that the youth can pick out books they want to take home to read and start their own at-home libraries.
United Way also has Little Free Libraries in every park in Whitfield and Murray counties. The Little Free Libraries promote literacy and community-building by supporting book exchanges. The purpose of these libraries is to provide a place where all readers in the community can share books throughout the year. Through these initiatives, United Way of Northwest Georgia is committed to helping prevent summer slide.
At United Way of Northwest Georgia, we are proud to provide free and accessible summer programs to kids in Whitfield and Murray counties. Our programs make sure all kids have the same opportunity to thrive. Kids in Whitfield and Murray counties benefit from these programs because of generous donors and supporters in our community. We look forward to expanding these programs in the future so more kids can reach their full potential and thrive!
How can you help?
- Donate new or gently used children's books to support summer learning (drop off at United Way office 816 S. Thornton Ave or place in one of our Little Free Library locations - https://www.ourunitedway.org/little-free-libraries)
- Volunteer to pass out books at one of our Power Lunch locations https://www.volunteernwga.org.
- Donate now to our Keep Kids Thriving campaign - https://www.ourunitedway.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=9
If you would like to learn more about our Keep Kids Thriving campaign or donate, please visit https://www.ourunitedway.org/keep-kids-thriving-summer.
Amanda Burt is the President of United Way of Northwest Georgia.
The mission of United Way is Improving Lives. Inspiring Donors. Uniting Community.