For many years, United Way of Greater Lima has emphasized children’s services in its funding. By placing a focus on education, we are helping children enter school and stay in school to graduate, which greatly increases a child’s success in life.
Two years ago, UWGL selected Early Childhood Development as a primary priority for funding and programming, with an emphasis on assuring that children enter school ready and able to learn. Included in our planning is an emphasis on following children throughout their school years to help along the way, decrease the drop-out rate and improve graduation rates. To address issues at the root cause, we are focusing on:
- Kindergarten Readiness
- Parent education and support
- Quality childcare centers
- Social and emotional development
- Creating collaborations between schools and Head Start
These indicators will measure our success:
- Increase in the scores on the KRAL (Kindergarten Readiness Assessment for Literacy)
- Increase in parental involvement
- # of children receiving books through the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program
- Reduction in drop-out rates and truancy
- Increase in post-secondary education rates
How Your United Way gift is making a difference in 2009/2010:
- A collaboration between United Way, Lima City Schools and Head Start provided two Kindergarten Kamps in 2009, and the 2010 program was completed in August. In 2009, 31 children completed a five week pre-kindergarten full day program on two school sites. Of the children completing the process (which targeted the lowest performing KRAL band demographics), 28 demonstrated gains in literacy skills. In 2010, 48 children completed the program, with an additional two schools interning to learn the program.
When the KRAL was administered early in the 2009/10 school year, every Kindergarten Kamp participant scored higher than those taking the test in the 2008/09 year, and they scored higher than their peers who were not kamp participants in 2009. In addition, two children had a perfect KRAL score. We expect similar results when the 2010 tests are known.
Children participating in the summer 2009 kamps entered school enthusiastically, and continued to maintain a desire to learn. Their parents became involved and continue to report their child’s love of learning. As long as these children remain in the school system, they can be tracked for continuous success.
The curriculum for this program was designed through the collaboration of teachers from Lima City Schools and Head Start and seeks to meet both educational and social needs of the children.
- 10,899 books have been distributed to families and 1, 464 young children through the “Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library” program.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters in-school mentoring program is working to help children academically and socially, and measures impact by improved attitudes and academic performance.
In 2009, 414 children were served. Testing results showed:
- 300 children (72.5%) showed improved self-confidence
- 287 children (69.3%) showed improved academic performance
- 282 children (68%) showed an improved attitude toward school
- 262 children (63.3%) had an improved class participation
- 201 children (48.6% showed improved school preparedness
- 210 children (50.8%) had improved class behavior
- 309 children (74.6%) displayed improved trust toward teachers.
- To alleviate child hunger and support better learning environments, over 500 children received back packs of nutritious food for the weekend during the school year. This program has grown from its initial year in 2007 when 152 were served. Expansion of this program to Elida is now being considered.
- Children’s Developmental Center measures success by the number of children with developmental disabilities who are able to transition to a regular school setting. In 2009, 74% of their children did transition to school and 38% no longer needed therapy.
Supporting the Education Impact Area
Funding for children’s programs comes from the annual United Way Campaign and special gifts directed to the early childhood development priority. Through its collaborations with other groups and individuals, UWGL was one of 15 communities in the United States, and the only Ohio community, to receive a Family Engagement for High School Success grant of $50,000 from AT & T and United Way Worldwide. This planning grant is working on an initiative designed to help parents and caregivers become more involved in their child’s education.