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United for Children Northwest Indiana

Planting Seeds for Success

The mission of United for Children is to enhance the quality of early childhood education opportunities in Northwest Indiana for low-income families by improving access to high-qulaity education programs and reducing the impact of social issues on the family unit in order to increase the economic vitality of future generations and Northwest Indiana.

United Way leads the effort to emphasize the importance of supporting this kind of quality care for children ages 0 to ­8, with focus on preschool to 3rd grade programs. United for Children supports success through High School graduation by dedicating its scope of work through 3rd-grade milestones that impact graduation rate success

United for Children is a collective regional movement to promote early childhood education that fosters collaboration among civic and business leaders, educators and parents, and nonprofits and faith-based organizations. United for Children advocates the importance of early childhood education in Northwest Indiana region to give stakeholders, policymakers and voting constituents the necessary tools to say yes to supporting future generations of learners.

What We Do

United for Children has introduced programs and training to improve kindergarten readiness for four- to five- year-olds and success in elementary school meeting grade-level reading expectations by the 3rd grade. Programs include:

  • Born Learning Trails are public opportunities for parents and caregivers to share learning activities in everyday settings.
  • Kindergarten Readiness Camps
    • LaPorte County offers camps in three school districts to prepare kids for Kindergarten.
    • Porter County has a three-week summer kinder camp program to two school districts to prepare kids for Kindergarten.
  • Lake County On My Way PreK pilot to place 4 years old in quality preschool. Lake county was one of five counties awarded this opportunity.
  • Early Childhood Literacy Kits
  • Minds in Motion is a motor-sensory program that improves cognitive and spatial learning ability.
  • Reading Buddies for 1st and 2nd graders to help improve oral fluency skills and comprehension.

Did You Know?

  • Early Childhood Education Advantages
    • Children with high-quality preschool experience arrive to kindgarten ready to learn. By attending a high-quality preschool experience, a child is 28% less likely to be incarcerated.
    • Investing $1 in early childhood education returns $16 on the investment.
    • 80% of those who attend preschool are more likely to graduate from high school. And, 84% of women who attend a high-quality preschool experience on average are more likely to have a graduated from high school.
  • A child born in poverty has an uphill battle.
    • This population is two-­times more likely to experience developmental learning delays that can be with them for the rest of their life.
    • Many of these children begin school 12 to 16 months behind their peers if not given the proper learning tools to success.
    • By 3rd grade approximately 80% of these children cannot read at the expected level and face being held back.
    • Lack of an early childhood education experience attributes to the learning gap even more for many five-year-olds in poverty. Approximately 22% of kids live in poverty in Northwest Indiana.
  • Indiana is one of five states that does not require kindergarten to start school. In Northwest Indiana, 82% of the school districts provide a kindergarten program. Northwest Indiana has approximately 9,300 five-year-olds in its community and almost 74% of them are not enrolled in kindergarten.

United for Children is an initiative of Lake Area United WayUnited Way of LaPorte County and United Way of Porter County. For more information about each county's efforts click on the respective links above.

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