United Way of the Wabash Valley is excited to announce its Success By 6 Impact Council has received two grants from Early Learning Indiana. The Success By 6 Council is working to improve the number of students who are “kindergarten-ready” at entry. Research shows that those who are prepared to enter kindergarten are more successful in school and prepared for a lifetime of learning. Their work focuses directly on our community goal of moving 10,000 families from financial struggles to stability. These two grants will be able to help fund great programs and initiatives aimed at helping our children succeed.
The first grant that United Way of the Wabash Valley received was $75,000 from the Child Care Deserts Competition, hosted by Early Learning Indiana, focusing on increasing access to high-quality child care for children ages 6 weeks to 6 years. In the Wabash Valley, only 16% of children birth to five are enrolled in high-quality child care or early education programs compared to Indiana’s 37%. With this grant, United Way will receive $75,000 to invest in expanding high-quality early childhood programs in a partnership with the Vigo County School Corporation. This partnership will include repurposing space in existing school corporation buildings and securing operation from high-quality child care providers. In addition, this grant will create a framework for how to incorporate private child care providers into public school buildings that can be utilized in other communities. United Way of the Wabash Valley was one of 13 organizations that were awarded the grant statewide that was made possible from the Lilly Endowment, Inc.
The second grant is $25,000 from the Strong Start Community initiative, funded by Indiana’s Preschool Development Grant and powered by Early Learning Indiana. This statewide grant opportunity was for communities to strengthen their kindergarten transition programs and practices. It will allow local communities to create plans to ensure more children move effectively into the kindergarten classroom, setting the stage for success in their first year of elementary school and beyond. Without the right supports, children struggle to manage new expectations and the uncertainty of a new environment. In Vigo County, we had over the state average of 5% percent of kindergartners who were retained in 2017. United Way’s Success By 6 is one of 15 Indiana communities awarded $25,000 to develop and implement kindergarten transition plans using national best practices and specific criteria.
Natalie Pugh with Chances and Services for Youth and Co-Chair of the Success By 6 Council stated the importance of receiving these fund in our community, “these grants will allow Success By 6 to collaborate in the community to help address the issue of high-quality early childhood education and our goal of kindergarten readiness. These programs will have a two-generation impact in that they will help prepare children for a lifetime of learning, but also create more access for working parents to child care in areas of need.”