Welcome To United for Children NWI 

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The mission of United for Children is to lead a collective regional effort to promote early childhood education by fostering collaboration among civic and business leaders, educators and parents, non-­‐‑profits and faith based organizations.

About Us

United Way leads the region in emphasizing the importance of supporting quality care for children 0-­‐‑3, and strong educational opportunities from Preschool to 3rd grade. United for Children supports success through High School but by dedicating the scope of work through that 3rd grade milestone, creates indicators for graduation success. Indiana measures the ability for reading with testing in 3rd grade, so the focus is strengthened in reading and comprehension skills prior to that measurement.

Advantages of Early Childhood Education:

  • Children with high-­‐‑quality Preschool experience arrive in Kindergarten ready to learn.
  • By attending a high-­‐‑quality preschool, a child is 28% less likely to be incarcerated.
  • Investing $1 in early childhood education
    returns $16 on the investment.
  • 80% who attend preschool will likely
    graduate from high school.
  • Women who attended a high-­‐‑quality preschool, on average are 84% likely to graduate from high school.

Our Goals:

  • Enhance the quality of education in Northwest Indiana.
  • Increase economic development potential.
  • Reduce the number and severity of social issues by providing support early and often.
  • Improve access to high-­‐‑quality early childhood education.

What we are doing:

United for Children has introduced programs and training to improve Kindergarten Readiness and success in school as well as meet the grade-­‐‑level reading measurement by 3rd Grade.

Such programs include:

  • Minds in Motion – a motor-sensory program that improves cognitive and spatial learning ability.
  • Kinder Kamps – Porter County has a four-week summer kindergarten readiness program to prepare kids for Kindergarten.
  • Kindergarten Readiness Camps – LaPorte County offers camps in three school districts to prepare kids for Kindergarten.
  • Lake Area United Way assists the On My Way PreK pilot to place 4-year-olds in quality Preschool. Lake was one of five counties selected.
  • Reading Buddies for 1st and 2nd graders improves oral fluency skills and comprehension.
  • Born Learning Trails are public opportunities for parents and caregivers to share learning activities in everyday settings.
  • Literacy Kits

It is our belief that being an advocate for children is our mission and duty. When a child does not have early learning opportunities, they enter Kindergarten at a disadvantage. This gap may continue with them for their entire school experience. A child born into a middle to high income family has an average exposure to 30 million more words than those peers born into poverty.

A child born into poverty:

  • This population is two-­times more likely to experience developmental delays.
  • Children born into poverty, begin school 12-­16 months behind their peers.
  •  By 3rd grade, 80% cannot read at that level and face being held back.

United for Children convenes stakeholders throughout the region to prepare stakeholders, policy makers and voting constituents with the necessary tools to advocate for the importance of Early Childhood Education.

Did You Know:

  • Indiana does not presently require Kindergarten.
  • Lake County has 6,275 5-­‐‑year-­‐‑olds and 76% are NOT enrolled.
  • Porter County has 1,687 5-­‐‑year-­‐‑olds and 69% are NOT enrolled.
  • LaPorte County has 1,337 5-­‐‑year-­‐‑olds and 72% are NOT enrolled.
  • Indiana is one of five states that does not encourage Kindergarten and yet 82% of our school districts offer it.
  • In Lake, there are 27% of kids living in poverty.
  • In Porter, there are 13% of kids living in poverty.
  • In LaPorte, there are 25% of kids living in poverty.