Quality education helps youth and adults achieve their full potential
The Heart of Illinois United Way works to ensure that our children are ready to succeed when they enter kindergarten and people of all ages are prepared for work, postsecondary education and life. By preparing children to enter school and providing them ongoing resources throughout their education, they'll be able to reach their academic and career potential.
- United Way funds distributed to the Education Impact Area support programs focused on development and intervention, including:
- Childcare and Pre-K Literacy
- After School Programs
- Tutoring and Mentoring
- Adult Literacy
- Special Education
- United Way funded education programs provide . . .
- Ages Pre-K through adult with literacy success
- After school tutoring that leads to grade promotion
- Mentoring that improves grades and social-emotional skills
- Parenting skills that build healthy parent-child relationships
- Here are just a few ways Heart of Illinois United Way funded programs are positively impacting education in central Illinois:
- 89% of preschool children demonstrated the pre-literacy skills needed for school readiness
- 88% of preschool children demonstrated the math skills needed for school readiness
- 90% of preschool children demonstrated the social-emotional skills needed for school readiness
- 89% of youth achieved academic success in reading skills
- 90% of youth achieved academic success in math skills
- 83% of adults who obtained tutoring or went back to school increased their knowledge
- 87% of parents who participated in parenting skills education positively changed their behavior
Make Education Count
Early math skills are one of the greatest predictors of future academic success. With increasing focus on STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math), early childhood math is the first step to obtaining higher education and future employment. To support school readiness, the Heart of Illinois United Way Success By 6 program works with local preschool programs to equip educators and families with strategies that build mathematical thinking skills at a young age.
Often, the most common approach to teaching early math skills is to focus on memorizing numbers alongside letters. However, learning to count by rote only teaches children number words and order, not number sense. That is why children at Tazewell Woodford Head Start are learning to sort and subitize (the ability to see a small amount and know how many there are without counting). The ability to subitize at a young age can lead to a better understanding of adding and subtracting; and children build scientific inquiry skills when they sort, compare, describe, and put things in order.
Learning Kindness is a Great Group Project
Students participating in afterschool programs improve attendance, have better math and reading skills, and are more likely to graduate. Many afterschool programs, like the Teen Reach program at Quest Charter Academy, also focus on life skills and anti-bullying which lead to healthier relationships, better attitudes about school, and higher levels of self-esteem.
Annually, the Heart of Illinois United Way invests more than $870,000 in afterschool and mentoring programs for central Illinois youth. Not only are these programs vital for improving grades and graduation rates, they also have many benefits outside of school such as decreasing the likelihood of drug or alcohol use, and improving behavior at home.
Support Along the Way Caps off a Great Education
The Heart of Illinois United Way funds early childhood, mentoring, tutoring, afterschool and in-school counseling programs? All of these provide the support needed to achieve graduation. These students from Quest Charter Academy benefit from a grant from our S3 (Supporting Student Success) initiative that provides counseling services, professional development for teachers, and an anger management program for students.
A Good Mentor Has Wisdom to Share
Youth who have a mentor are more confident in their academic abilities, enjoy school more and understand the importance of doing well in school. Funded by the United Way, Heart of Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters matched Maria with her “little” Alaysia, a straight-A student, who likes exploring her creativity. Maria serves as a role model helping her with school work and showing Alaysia she can go far with hard work and creativity. After being matched for more than a year, Alaysia is thriving ... she’s more confident at school and setting goals for the future. Alaysia’s teachers and family believe her future is extremely bright.
Our Education Initiatives
Success By 6 and S3 Help Children Achieve Academic Success
The Heart of Illinois United Way funds two special initiatives under the Education Impact Area - Success By 6® and S3 (Supporting Student Success).
Our Success By 6 program focuses on preparing pre-school children to be ready for academic success when they enter kindergarten.
Our S3 initiative is a collaboration between public schools in Peoria and Tazewell counties and United Way partner agencies. S3 focuses on improving academic achievement by providing in-school counseling and group support for substance abuse, violence prevention and mental health.
United Way Education Programs at Work
To see United Way funded education programs at work visit our YouTube channel.