Sun’s Out and Western CT is On Our Mind
Last night, my daughters spent an hour catching fireflies hoping that they would light up their bedroom throughout the night. Summertime always brings back strong childhood memories of playing kickball in the street until dark, riding bikes and going to overnight camp. It’s fun to relive some of those memories through your own children. But I am also aware that summer isn’t always ‘fun’ for families that live paycheck-to-paycheck. The cost of summer camp that provides childcare for working families can cost $3,000 or more, and the loss of subsidized meals at public schools can mean another $500 hit to a household budget. When you only bring home $4,000 during that same time period working full-time, you can easily see how stressful summer can become.
Our focus on helping ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households is creating more stability by meeting short-term needs such as summer childcare or access to fresh, healthy food, and longer-term needs like developing financial skills and building savings. We are thrilled to hear the stories about the experiences of our ALICE Enrichment Fund in our local communities and how appreciative parents are when they can provide experiences for their children in sports, arts and science that they otherwise couldn’t afford. One mother wrote us to say how much it meant for her special needs child to be able to participate in an enrichment camp – “to be active and included.” Isn’t that what we all want - to be “included” in life?
Together, we’re fighting for the health, education and financial stability of every household in every community we serve. Thank you for joining us in the fight!
Chief Executive Officer
United Way of Western Connecticut
UWWC Announces More than $600k in Educational Funding
United Way of Western Connecticut (UWWC) announced that they have invested $635,000 into early childhood, afterschool and educational enrichment programs in greater Danbury, greater New Milford and Stamford. All grant dollars are tied to program support for families living within the ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) income threshold.
Advocacy Alert: Take Action for EITC and Care4Kids
ALICE households are losing ground with cuts to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Care4Kids childcare subsidy that helps keep parents working. We need to advocate strongly against the proposed cut to both of these programs, which keep working families and households working and out of poverty. Please contact your legislators in CT and let them know that this is bad policy.
Contact Your Legislator: Find Your Legislator’s Contact Information. When you contact your Legislator, tell them you are a voting constituent in their representative district and you think both cuts to EITC and Care4Kids are bad policy and will hurt working households in your district and across Connecticut. Calling your Legislator and making your voice heard is a very important way you can advocate for hard-working ALICE households.
- Learn more about the impact of Care4Kids in your community and take action, via CAHS
- Learn more about the value of EITC to working households and our state’s economy, via WNPR Hartford
Community and Learning Blossom at Danbury’s Park Avenue School
UWWC invited the public to join parents, volunteers, school staff and administration for a ribbon cutting for the Park Avenue School Community Garden on Thursday, June 29, 2017. State Senator Michael McLachlan of Connecticut’s 24th District, representing communities of Danbury, Bethel, New Fairfield and Sherman, attended the event.
The garden was created as part of UWWC’s Strong Start Neighborhood Initiative at Park Avenue School. Strong Start prepares children in the Park Avenue Elementary School neighborhood/zone for success in kindergarten and the early grades, which form a critical foundation for academic achievement and success in the later school years.
The garden was supported by Strong Start Program funds from The Grossman Family Foundation, and spearheaded by Maria Vargas, a bilingual parent outreach worker at Park Avenue School whose work is also funded through Strong Start. Recognizing that parents who don’t speak English as a first language are often hesitant to get involved in extra-curricular school life, Vargas encouraged parent involvement in the garden as a way to break down barriers between parents, school administrators and staff.
Celebrating Our Youngest Learners in Stamford
In a partnership with the City of Stamford, Stamford Public Schools and The Ferguson Library, UWWC celebrated the Week of the Young Child™ in late April, a national event designed to raise awareness of the importance of early learning experiences and the work of all those who make it possible for our children to have the best start to their learning.
Combined with its annual Business to Books Read-a-thon, an event launched in 2002 to promote volunteerism in the community, UWWC was joined by several local companies to read to children at Stamford elementary schools and selected preschools. Throughout the course of the week, more than 3,000 preschool, kindergarten, and first grade children were read to by 140 business professionals (and a few friendly UWWC staff people).
“All young children need and deserve high-quality early learning experiences that will prepare them for life, and Stamford, Connecticut has a great opportunity to do our part to help young children,” said Kim Morgan, CEO of United Way of Western Connecticut. “Week of the Young Child™ is a time for Stamford to recognize our children and all those who work with them.”
ALICE Enrichment Fund Open
UWWC's ALICE Enrichment Fund is open across Western CT, providing critical funds for children and youth from paycheck-to-paycheck families to engage in extracurricular activites to help drive their academic engagement.
Day of Action Mobilized More Than 400 Volunteers
More than 400 volunteers from more than 20 companies completed more than 60 projects throughout June as part of our annual Day of Action in Northern Fairfield and Southern Litchfield counties, which kicked off on June 6.
Heart of Gold Award Dinner Honored Webster Bank Pres. John Ciulla
United Way of Western Connecticut Honored Webster Bank President John Ciulla at its 23rd Annual Heart of Gold Award Dinner in Stamford on May 18, with more than 250 guests in attendance.
Mobile Food Pantries Distribute More Than 335,000 lbs. of Fresh Food
Each month, UWWC’s Mobile Food Pantry serve nearly 200 households at each of three locations throughout Western CT: Bethel, New Milford and Stamford. Held in the evening to accommodate working households’ schedules, each visitor to the Mobile Food Pantry receives approximately 70 pounds of fresh, free food, including dairy products and seasonal produce. Participants tell us this food helps lessen the strain on their limited budgets and provides their families with fresh food to eat.
Stamford Food Collaborative Purchases Five Refrigerators and Freezers
The United Way of Western Connecticut (UWWC) is proud to announce that they have awarded the Stamford Food Collaborative (SFC) $10,000 in new refrigerators/freezers.
Walking School Bus Adds Second Danbury Elementary School
Walking School Bus initiative added a second route to Danbury, now including South Street Elementary School, whose students will join the event with their peers from Park Avenue School. A Walking School Bus is a pre-determined "route" for children and parents to walk to school, 'picking up' more students who join the route along the way, promoting exercise and enriching the school community. The Walking School Bus is co-sponsored by the Coalition for Healthy Kids (CHK), Regional YMCA of Western CT, Danbury Public Schools (DPS) and United Way of Western Connecticut (UWWC).
Ready, Set, Let's Read! Needs You For One Hour A Week
Ready, Set, Let’s Read!is a volunteer reader program that helps prepare children for kindergarten and ignites a love of reading among young children! Share your love of reading and help young children develop critical language, literacy and social skills - just one afternoon a week. We’re looking for caring volunteers who can make a weekly commitment to read books to area preschool classrooms. For more information, contact Casey Levene at firstname.lastname@example.org or (203) 297-6246, or click the link below.
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