A First Step Toward a Fulfilling Life

Every day my dedicated colleagues join me in working to bring people together to build strong, equitable communities where everyone can thrive. We focus our efforts in four areas that have immense impact on people’s lives: early education, career and college success, financial empowerment, and racial equity and social justice.

Those areas form stepping stones on the path to creating a fulfilling life. The first step on the journey starts with ensuring that all kids are reading on grade level by third grade. We know that children who cannot read proficiently by that age face ongoing difficulties throughout school and likely into adulthood.

For the past few weeks in this publication, we’ve described examples of how United Way and our partners contribute to grade-level reading success through summer programming that reduces learning loss, provides enrichment, and engages students in reading and learning. Last week we introduced you to Freedom Schools. Today we’ll tell you about 21st Century Community Learning Centers and the quality programming they offer year-round, both after school and in summer programs.

Freedom Schools and 21st Century Community Learning Centers are based on scientific principles and demonstrate proven results. United Way of Delaware and many of our valued community partners up and down the state — including the Delaware Dept. of Education and school districts — have been instrumental in standing up these programs in underserved communities.

These are shining examples of the impact that partnership and collaboration can have upon our youth, their families and communities. We thank all who work so hard to ensure a bright future for all children.

Raina Allen - Director, Delaware Racial Justice Collaborative

Michelle A. Taylor, Ed.D.
President and CEO, United Way of Delaware