Here at United Way, we ask you to give, to advocate and to volunteer. We know you do it because you want to make a difference. Your passion is what drives our work across the United States and around the world. But if we’re going to keep asking you to play a part in the solution, it’s important for us to offer evidence that your hard work is actually improving people’s lives and strengthening communities. In other words, where are the results? The good news is: the results are all around us, and I’m excited to share them…one community at a time. So consider this story about Washington, DC to be just one success story in a series of education, income and health success stories that I will be talking about over the weeks and months to come.
Our story begins at Kelly Miller Middle School, where standardized test scores increased by 14% in 2013. That’s a 14% increase in test scores in just one year! How did it happen? Well, 400 volunteers, teachers, students and their families came together around a shared vision for their community’s future. With support from United Way of the National Capital Area (NCA), the community decided to do a test run on their new education strategy at this one school. A combination of classroom teacher support, after-school tutoring and other programs has proven to make a difference in the lives of these youth. Inspired by early success, United Way NCA now plans to expand the effort to two additional schools in the Washington, D.C. region. Key to duplicating these results across the region will be the commitment of partner schools and other local organizations, as well as the passion and expertise of volunteers from throughout the community. So far, United Way NCA has successfully inspired more than 1,000 people to volunteer and become part of the solution.
What is the Kelly Miller Middle School in your community? By that I mean, where do you see positive change starting in your community? Remember, big things have small beginnings. Is it a child whose life could forever be changed by a dedicated role model? Is a community park that has fallen into disrepair, but could be once again be a place for children and adults to play and exercise? We invite you to take the pledge to become a volunteer reader, tutor or mentor. You also can reach out to your local United Way and find out about other opportunities to give, to advocate, and to volunteer. That’s what it takes to create real and lasting change that builds opportunity for all. That’s what it means to LIVE UNITED.
And be sure to check back soon for our next success story, because it just might be from your community!