We Have Moved.

Please visit our most recent blog posts at: http://www.uwgnh.org/blog

August 26, 2008

The State of United Way, CEO Letter

A few years ago, United Way of Greater New Haven convened the Community Compass project, a collaborative of over 30 business and community organizations focused on identifying our region’s greatest needs and best opportunities for change. Through data analysis and community interviews, Compass partners identified economic and educational disparity as the most significant challenges faced by our region.

In response to the Compass results, United Way’s Board of Directors and other lead volunteers decided to focus the organization’s efforts in three areas where we believed we could have the greatest impact on improving lives and changing conditions in our region: education, income and health.

In many ways, this focus takes us back to the roots of United Way. Over 80 years ago, when we were known as The Community Chest, local leaders came together to discuss the challenges faced by the people of our region and to undertake a coordinated response. Our current commitments reflect our history, while addressing the very real needs that families in the Greater New Haven region face today: ensuring that all children, beginning at birth, have quality learning opportunities that prepare them for school and life success; supporting families who are working to achieve economic stability and success; and helping people access affordable health care and be civically engaged and connected to each other.

Our work remains guided by community volunteers in partnership with strong local agencies. What has changed is that our work is driven by measurable goals and focused on results. And while United Way investments continue to help people in crisis, we are increasingly focused on prevention and opportunities to change conditions. For example, United Way still makes investments in local programs that provide emergency shelter. Increasingly, however, United Way is also working with and investing in programs that provide job training for homeless individuals, because a person who is supported in his or her efforts to get and keep a job is more likely to be able to acquire permanent, stable housing.

Early childhood is an area where our investments in prevention have yielded excellent results and was one of the key areas of need identified through Compass. Our work in early childhood is guided by the knowledge that what happens during a child’s earliest years lays the foundation on which the rest of her life experiences are built. We know that by the age of four, the average low-income child has heard 30 million fewer words than his or her higher income peers. This gap has long-term consequences: in one study, the vocabulary gap at age three predicted language scores in third grade. In fact, researchers now document that half the academic achievement gap evidenced in grade 12 can be attributed to gaps that already existed in first grade. Why is this important? Because Connecticut has the largest achievement gap in the nation between poor and non-poor children in both reading and math. It is in our best interests for all students to have the reading and math skills they need to be successful, for they are our future workforce, future community leaders, and future parents. The good news is that we also know that whatever their social or economic background, children who have supported, engaged parents and attend a quality preschool are more likely to be ready for school and continue to succeed throughout their school years.

Over the past four years, United Way has invested nearly $1.6 million through our Success By 6 initiative to support young children and their families. These efforts, in conjunction with community partners, have resulted in more parents in our community having the knowledge, skills, and support structure they need to be their child’s first and best teacher. United Way has also focused on helping more children benefit from high quality early care and education in child care centers and licensed family child care homes. Thanks to United Way’s efforts, almost 2,000 children have benefited from quality early care and learning programs. Through Success By 6, United Way has also provided leadership to a number of local early childhood councils, provided opportunities for community dialogue that engaged parents, professionals and community leaders, and mobilized hundred of volunteers to support parents and local early childhood programs. While we are pleased with our results to date, we know that there is more to do. Working together, we can ensure that all young children in our region have the kinds of opportunities that prepare them for school and life success.

There are many more stories to share about how your contribution is changing lives and making our community stronger. I invite you to visit our website (www.uwgnh.org) to learn more about the challenges we face as a community in these challenging economic times and how we can address them together.

Sincerest regards,

Jack Healy

President and CEO, United Way of Greater New Haven

August 19, 2008

A Growing Mind Won't Wait!

About the Event: Parents of young children from Branford, Madison and Guilford were invited to join Dr. Dia Flanagan of Madison Pediatrics, Priscilla Russo RN of Read to Grow, and Amy Townsley of United Way of Greater New Haven for a conversation on early childhood development and learning. The evening event informed parents about the importance of early development, children’s language and literacy development and provided them with information on the building blocks that will help ensure their children’s success in life.

When: Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: RJ Julia’s Booksellers, 2nd Floor, 768 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT

A 40-year study showed that every $1 invested in early education saves $17 down the road, with results including lower crime rates, fewer single parents and higher individual earnings and education levels.

Children with engaged, supported parents and quality preschool experiences are more likely to read at grade level by 3rd grade, score well on the 4th grade CT Mastery Test, avoid juvenile justice system, and stay in school.

August 13, 2008

Touch A Truck!

Saturday, September 13 from 10:00am to 2:00pm
Rain or Shine at Branford High School, 185 Main Street, Branford, CT 06405

United Way has partnered with the Town of Branford to organize Branford’s first ever Touch-A-Truck event!

Touch-A-Truck is a unique, family-oriented one-day event, featuring trucks and cars to touch, climb on and take pictures alongside. The "price of admission" is disposable diapers that will be distributed free, in partnership with The Diaper Bank, to local nonprofits serving families in need.

The event will include vehicles from various municipal offices, including the Branford Fire Department, Branford Police Department, Parks and Public Works Departments, as well as vehicles from local construction companies.

United Way of Greater New Haven Supports A New Haven Summer Youth Program

Douglas Bethea, Founder and Director of Nation Drill Squad & Drum Corp. in New Haven, has organized a trip to the Elk’s Lodge Drill Team National Championships for the last 20 years. The program keeps inner city youth off the streets during the summer and provides youth with an opportunity to travel throughout the country. While the team has placed in the top 3 in recent years, the New Haven Register reported that the 46 member team won this year’s prestigious national title. United Way of Greater New Haven sponsored 2 team members to travel to Detroit, Michigan for this year’s championships. Douglas and United Way of Greater New Haven look forward to future partnerships and the team’s continued success. We invite you to explore UWGNH videos and listen to Douglas's story.

August 12, 2008

United Way shoots for 2008 volunteers for 2008 Days of Caring

Marna Borgstrom, President and CEO of Yale New Haven Hospital helps United Way of Greater New Haven promote Days of Caring 2008 (September 15-21st, 2008). The TV spot will air on WTNH News Channel 8 throughout the fall and encourages citizens to go out and make a difference within their communities.

Click below to view the TV spot:

August 6, 2008

Experience Corps Beginning Third Year in Hamden

Aug. 5, 2008
Media Contact: Michelle Wade
203.772.2010, Ext.202
Cell – 860.834.0128

National program seeks older adult volunteers to tutor in Hamden elementary schools, help improve reading skills

Experience Corps Greater New Haven founded by United Way of Greater New Haven and the Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut, is recruiting volunteers age 55 and above who are interested in tutoring children in grades K-3 as part of the 2008-2009 Experience Corps program in Hamden.

Experience Corps is a national Civic Ventures initiative that trains older adults (55+) to work with elementary school children in kindergarten through third grade to improve their reading skills. No prior tutoring experience is required and volunteers from all professional backgrounds and walks of life are welcome to attend an information session and screening. A partnership with Americorps provides stipends for volunteers who meet certain requirements.

Information sessions will be held at:
The Miller Memorial Library (Friends Room) 2901 Dixwell Ave., Hamden, CT
Thursday, August 14, 2008 10:30 am
Monday, August 18, 2008 1:30 pm
Thursday, August 21, 2008 10:30 am
Tuesday, August 26, 2008 10:30 am

Since its inception in March 2007, thirty-eight Experience Corps members have tutored over 600 students through small group and individual sessions. They have contributed a total of over 4000 hours to the program. Volunteers tutor children from 10-20 hours per week and receive ongoing training in literacy tutoring skills.

For more information please call Sheila Greenstein, Experience Corps Program Director, at 203-752-3059 x 2900 or email volunteer@aoapartnerships.org

About United Way:
United Way mobilizes the caring power of our community to create measurable, sustainable change and to improve lives. To do this we: help identify our region's greatest needs and best opportunities for change; raise dollars and invest those dollars for results; and connect people to their caring through volunteer opportunities. More information about United Way can be found at http://www.uwgnh.org/.

About the Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut:
The Agency on Aging works to provide a continuum of opportunities, care and support services that allow older Americans to remain in their homes and communities, avoid unwanted and unneeded institutionalization, and to age in place with dignity, respect and maximum independence. The Agency on Aging hosts additional volunteer programs including the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), a program that coordinates senior volunteers and the Senior Benefits Connection, a program in which senior volunteers conduct financial benefits and services eligibility screenings for other seniors. More information about the Agency on Aging can be found at www.aoapartnerships.org