United Way Works to Advance Education
Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. Nationwide, with more than 1.2 million children dropping out each year, America faces an education crisis. The cost? More than $312 billion in lost wages, taxes, and productivity over their lifetimes. These trends are reversible, but only when communities - alongside public, private, and nonprofit sectors - work together.
In 2008, United Way Worldwide launched a 10-year initiative to cut the number of high school dropouts in half by 2018. It’s an ambitious goal, attainable only when we pull together our core strengths- a national network, committed local partners, and public engagement capacity.
In the Coachella Valley, nearly 15% of our children do not graduate high school. To support the Education goal set by United Way Worldwide, in 2014 the United Way of the Desert honed our commitment in Education by addressing the graduation rate of students in the Valley. We set a goal of increasing the graduation rate by allocating resources to our programs that specifically target at risk-students, and to support before and after school care programs that prepare students to graduate college and become career ready.
It's not enough to focus on high school alone though. High school dropouts are 12 years in the making, where students fall behind schedule in early childhood education. United Way's model focuses on supportive communities, effective schools, and strong families - strategies and approaches rooted in research and proven effective. Tackling the education challenge requires reframing education on a birth to 21 continuum - a process we call "cradle to career".
United Way of the Desert mobilizes efforts and resources to specifically target Children, ages 0 to Grade 3, in order to lay the foundation of literacy and parental engagement. Third grade reading levels - where a child transitions from learning to read towards reading to learn - is paramount to school success, and a predictor of future poverty! Our programs are designed as a wholistic tool that supports the early education of young children and promotes long-lasting community change.
How You Can Help
In order to reach our goal, we need your help. The strategies proven to work are those that connect communities to their schools: parental involvement, literacy volunteers in the classroom, mentors for disadvantaged students, and business leaders engaged in early childhood advocacy. Please give. Advocate on our behalf. Volunteer to help.