Across the country, United Way brings people together with the passion, skill and commitment to improving lives. From mentoring kids to tax preparation for low income families, volunteers are tackling today's toughest challenges. Here is a great example from Wisconsin, where community partners are rolling up there sleeves to help working families through an initiative of the United Way of Racine County.
From Racine, Wisconsin:
Photo: Taneka Golden, Mother & Student
Racine, Wisconsin is home to Advancing Family Assets (AFA), an exciting model that is making strides in the financial stability and success of many low wage, working families. As a community impact initiative of United Way of Racine County, AFA partners with other organizations to improve the lives of working families and to ensure a quality workforce throughout Racine County. AFA supports families through an intensive coaching approach that works to alleviate challenges in the areas of income, education and health while helping all family members set and reach goals that will lead to long-term stability.
Since its inception in 2009, AFA served over 60 families. Currently, there are 32 active families who are making measurable progress in the areas of income, education and health. One of our families, the Golden Family, exemplifies educational success. The Golden Family enrolled in AFA in June 2009. At that time the single mother of 3 girls set lofty educational goals for herself and her children. She wanted to further her education and she desperately wanted her daughters to get back on track at school. The mother shared her goals with her AFA Family Success Coach and together they developed a plan which included a team meeting with Mom, the teachers, school social worker and the AFA coach to discuss the girls’ grades and behavior. The AFA coach shadowed and observed the girls at school for a month to provide an unbiased perspective of the situation and to relieve Mom of the need to take off time from work. Additionally, the AFA coach provided homework assistance on major projects. As a result, Mom acknowledged what she and her girls could do differently and ultimately improved communication with the school staff. During the last grading period, all girls received high marks on their report cards with few behavioral incidents. Mom also holds herself to high educational standards. She is now a proud student at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI who successfully balances the demands of school, work and being a single mother.