Keep Kids Thriving This Summer with United Way

Summer is here, and now is the perfect time to empower our kids with the skills and knowledge they need for a bright future! At United Way, we believe every child deserves the chance to succeed and are committed to making that happen.

Our summer programs do more than help kids catch up academically—they offer opportunities for children and youth to unlock their full potential. Youth Opportunity is a cornerstone of our mission, and 29% of our funding goes directly to educational programming. From getting kids kindergarten-ready to ensuring they graduate with essential life and career skills, we are all about building a stronger community.

We are thrilled to discuss Read United, a dynamic, year-round initiative to boost childhood literacy in Whitfield and Murray counties. By helping kids hit crucial literacy milestones, Read United is opening doors to achievement and brighter futures.

To kick off the summer, we are diving into literacy with Keep Kids Thriving—a vibrant part of our Read United initiative. This program is packed with tools and resources to combat the summer slide, where academic progress can stall. Did you know that summer learning loss accounts for two-thirds of the reading achievement gap between low-income and middle-income children by the ninth grade? (Source: National Summer Learning Association). We are here to change that narrative!

United Way of Northwest Georgia is on a mission to ensure kids read to learn and love it! Keep Kids Thriving ensures young minds stay active and engaged. With free books, fun activities, and caring volunteers, we help children stay on track.

United Way is proud to partner with Dalton Public Schools, Murray County Schools, and Whitfield County Schools. Together, we are providing free books and volunteer support at school lunch sites to prevent the summer slide. Our dedicated volunteers visit each site weekly, helping kids choose books to take home and start their libraries.

Our Little Free Libraries in every park in Whitfield and Murray counties are a community treasure. They offer a space for book exchanges that promote literacy and community spirit and ensure everyone can access books year-round.

Additionally, our Youth United program welcomed the new Youth United Council for the 2024-2025 school year. The Youth United Council is a leadership program of United Way of Northwest Georgia with programming provided by the University of Georgia's J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, "Youth Leadership in Action". We had almost 50 applicants this year and are proud to say that every area high school is represented on our Council of 34 students!

Youth United is designed to provide youth with a foundation of leadership understanding, equip youth with the skills needed to become leaders, cultivate the desire to be community leaders, increase self-efficacy in becoming civically engaged, and assist youth in developing the confidence to act in their schools, neighborhoods, counties, or any "community" in which they are part. We are cultivating the next generation of community leaders by empowering our youth through this program.

United Way of Northwest Georgia is committed to a stronger, more educated community—one book at a time. Thanks to our generous donors and supporters, we are making a lasting impact on the lives of kids in Whitfield and Murray counties.

How Can You Help?

  • Donate: New or gently used children's books are gold for our summer learning programs. Please drop them off at the United Way office (816 S. Thornton Ave) or any Little Free Library location. Visit for more details.
  • Volunteer: Want to help distribute books and bring smiles to kids' faces? Email to join the fun.
  • Give: Your donations fuel our programs. Visit to make a difference today!

Join us in making a positive impact! United Way of Northwest Georgia is bettering our community - one book at a time. Together, we will ensure all kids thrive!

United, We Do More!

Amanda Burt is the President of United Way of Northwest Georgia.

The mission of United Way is Improving Lives. Inspiring Donors. Uniting Community.