By: Damon Elmore—
Muncie, IN—Your United Way has been focused on ending generational poverty by developing programs and funding others that help ensure kids, when they hit the third grade, can read at grade level. I believe, more than ever, the strategy is working and people are getting the message.
For those I’ve met this campaign season, there is only a slight degree of separation from a United Way success story. We’re talking less about problems and more about solutions.
Research tells us a child’s ability to read at grade level by the end of third is the single best predictor of a person’s and a community’s future, but our kids in low-income households are not achieving like they need to. Considering I grew up in a family of educators, this has been and will be important to me.
In fact, 80 percent of children in these homes are reading below grade-level, and they are 13 times more likely not to finish high-school. Almost half of those living in our community live in poverty or are defined as ALICE — asset-limited, income-constrained, and employed. They are one crisis away from financial catastrophe. By addressing grade-level reading readiness, we change this dynamic, and tackle a root cause of generational poverty.
That’s precisely why United Way of Delaware County has set a bold goal to have all children reading at grade-level in third grade by 2024. This single driver can end the generational poverty cycle and change the trajectory of our community.
As you might guess, there’s no one or two organizations or programs that can fully serve the needs of these families – both in-crisis and from cradle-to-career. Your United Way is investing mightily in its own grade level reading work—which includes Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, Summer Book Give Away, Real Men Read (being piloted this fall), and Reading Club. In fact, nearly 1,000 children in Delaware County are receiving free books each month as part of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
As we near the end of the 2019 United Way campaign, I’m asking you to consider financially supporting this life-changing work. Our goal is to raise $1.5 million that stays here in our community to help our families and their children. We have a big problem and we’re tackling it with bold solutions.
Everyone I’ve talked to throughout this campaign sees the work going on and understands its value and how our work impacts the community at large.
Everyone I talk to wants to make Muncie shine, and is willing to help. Won’t you join us?
About United Way of Delaware and Henry Counties
Damon Elmore is co-chair of the 2019 Fundraising Campaign, along with Liz Ludwick. Both are employed at Muncie Power Products. United Way of Delaware and Henry Counties focusing resources on education, health, and financial stability. The nonprofit fights to create lasting change in community conditions. With its bold goal to reach grade-level reading by 2024, United Way works to help children read at or above grade level by the end of their third-grade year. Learn more at InvitedToLiveUnited.org.