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Good health is both a community responsibility and a community benefit: It goes beyond personal diet, exercise and the many other individual choices we make. The foundation for a healthy life is in the neighborhoods we build and environments we inhabit. When people have access to parks, bike paths, safe playgrounds, healthy foods, and good medical care, they are more likely to succeed in school, work and life.

United Way is creating solutions that help everyone thrive, creating healthier communities that improve our collective quality of life. We’re focused on expanding access to healthy foods, opportunities for physical activity and quality health care. To do this, we partner with local schools, governments, health agencies and other community-based nonprofits, as well as national partners like the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program and NFL Play 60

Success Stories

Check out how communities worldwide are empowering people to succeed in school at every stage of their lives:

  • Promoting Healthy Living in Toledo, Ohio

    Today, every single child in Toledo’s public schools can eat a healthy breakfast at school – for free. On top of that, students in struggling neighborhoods are being sent home with bags of nutritious food to tide them over during the weekends, and meals are being served over summer months when school lets out. The demand for healthier choices was always there; people just needed a little help turning their aspirations into reality.

    People and organizations within the community, with support from United Way of Greater Toledo, have also come together to plant and maintain over 130 urban gardens; provide nutrition programs to low-income neighbors; ensure safe walkable routes to school for all kids living within two miles; create more bike lanes and paths; and provide free comprehensive eye exams in 39 schools. It’s change that can be seen and felt by the whole community.

    Did You Know…?

    Kids who eat a healthy school breakfast every day score 17.5% better on math tests and are 20% more likely to graduate high school. That’s why we work with partners like No Kid Hungry to integrate healthy eating into our broader strategy for educational success.

  • Young People Take on Hepatitis B in Mumbai, India

    In Mumbai, India, 9,000 college youth, public health personnel and community members, has taken on one of India’s greatest challenges: the epidemic of Hepatitis B.

    With the support of United Way Mumbai and partners, over 1.2 million people have been educated with information about Hepatitis infections, over 10,000 people have been tested, and nearly 9,000 people have been vaccinated. The community has achieved all this in just three years, and they aim to expand the health education and awareness program to 2 million people by September 2014.

    Did You Know…?

    As a worldwide organization, United Way works with local leaders in communities to address local challenges with locally driven solutions. From Hepatitis in Mumbai to malaria in Uganda, we help identify the issues that matter most to the people in those communities, and help them create long-lasting solutions. 

  • Improving Education Through Healthy Living in Orlando, Florida

    The Healthy Youth Collaborative is dedicated to improving the health of children in underserved areas of Orange County. In its first year of the Healthy Youth Collaborative, it served 140 middle school students. After that first year, 79 percent of participating youth were performing at grade level in reading, and 74 percent were performing at grade level in math. Additionally, 91 percent of youth improved or maintained good attendance at school throughout the year.

    The initiative provides medical and mental health services, academic tutoring and academic enrichment services before and after school programs. Orlando’s After School All Stars provides prevention and intervention programs, while Orlando Health’s Teen Xpress provides medical and mental health services. For many, the Teen Xpress is the students’ only method of medical care. The Teen Xpress provides a safe and private place for teen wellness, helping students in a critical phase of their development—students who would otherwise go without treatment.

    Did You Know…?

    Much of what influences a young person’s education happens outside the classroom. From access to quality health care for the whole family to steady employment for parents that pays a livable wage: all these issues can impact a child’s capacity to succeed in school, and in life. That’s why United Way supports the Community School model, which helps children and their parents overcome non-academic barriers through mental health services, family literacy programs, on-site medical and dental services, gang awareness and prevention programs, financial education, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, and more.