Quality early-learning develops the building blocks for success in elementary school. Research has shown that children receiving high quality childcare are more likely to succeed academically, socially and financially later in life. When 4-year-old Ashton started a Success By 6 early learning program last year, he had a difficult time concentrating on tasks and playing with other children. Instead, he would hide under desks and barely spoke to anyone. Through United Way’s Success By 6 program, Ashton’s teachers worked one-on-one with him, strengthening his social skills and teaching him how to verbalize questions in class. Today, he is more confident in his interactions with other children and is an active participant in the classroom.
The first years of a child’s life are critical to their development and readiness for kindergarten. Helping children build vocabulary and other key literacy skills is crucial to their success both in and out of the classroom. Before 3-year-old Claire began a Success By 6 program, her parents noticed she was having trouble articulating words and communicating with others. Knowing this could present additional challenges for her in the classroom, she began meeting one-on-one with a speech therapist each week. Today, her teachers are amazed at her progress. Claire is now a talkative little girl eager to participate in classroom activities, has an extensive vocabulary and on target for kindergarten.
Withdrawn and shy, and struggling in a few of her classes, Takalya needed extra help to stay on track in school. Her mom, who works at her school, heard about United Way’s Achievers For Life, a dropout prevention strategy, and reached out to Takayla’s teachers to register her in the program. Through weekly sessions, she received one-on-one mentoring and the encouragement to stay in school. Today, Takayla has earned a spot on the A/B Honor Roll, completed advanced classes, and qualified as a candidate for a college scholarship program. As for Pam, Takayla’s mentor, she plans to continue their mentoring relationship through high school. “I’ve seen first-hand that a child bene fits from meeting with a caring adult each week, and I benefit from it, too.”
Austin was having a difficult time adjusting to middle school and struggled with his grades. Through United Way’s Achievers For Life initiative, a dropout prevention strategy, he was matched with a mentor who met with him each week. During their meetings, they worked on school assignments, discussed future careers and even played the occasional game of basketball. Austin’s mentor, Antonio, recalls experiencing the same challenges in middle school and was able to give him the encouragement and confidence he needed to get back on track, earning a 3.46 grade point average for the school year.
Failing third grade and receiving behavior referrals, Dorian was on the wrong track at school. Through the help of a United Way funded agency, Delores was connected to a parent-support group and Dorian received one-on-one tutoring and encouragement to get back on track. What once felt like a lose-lose situation became a win-win. Dorian was not only promoted to the next grade, but his behavior and school grades have improved significantly. When asked how the group has been helpful, she responded, “They gave me hope; even with the ups and downs, his behavior is back on track.”
Helping children build vocabulary and other key literacy skills is crucial to their success both in and out of the classroom.
Unable to read and in danger of failing first grade, Patrick’s mother was worried he would continue to fall behind in school. Richelle, who is illiterate, could not provide her son these essential fundamentals. Through the help of a United Way-funded program focused on enhancing reading skills, he received one-on-one attention from reading tutors. As a result, Patrick passed the first grade and has renewed self-esteem and confidence. In fact, he is now teaching his mom to read for a little while each night. Richelle hopes to learn to read, go back to school, and perhaps someday be able to teach others how to read. Not only did Patrick receive the skills to succeed in class but it’s also given his mother something to strive for.
With Brynna’s mom struggling to take care of five kids and work all by herself, Brynna felt as though she had no one listening to her. With the added stress at home, it was difficult for Brynna to focus on her classes. During her freshman year of high school she was connected to a United Way-funded student enrichment program for girls. Brynna received one-on-one tutoring, counseling, and opportunities to participate in community service projects. With renewed confidence and encouragement from her teachers, she qualified as a candidate for a college scholarship program. Now a senior, Brynna is looking forward to setting career goals and a brighter future. “It’s brought me closer to my own family and helped make me a strong person,” says Brynna, “I have a reason not to quit… at anything.”