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Take the Day Off, Mom. We Got This.

All over the world, moms are dedicated to building a better future for their children. And United Way has their backs.

Moms Deserve Our Thanks, and Our Help

The community spirit that drives United Way’s mission is inspired by the boundless love and hard work of mothers everywhere. We can never take your place, but you taught us well. So this Mother’s Day, we want to not only show our appreciation for the hard work and personal sacrifice of mothers (and grandmothers) around the world, but also reflect on how we can come together to support them.

After all, moms face challenges that no single person—or organization, for that matter—can solve alone. Together, however, we can lift up individuals and entire communities. That is the real thanks our moms deserve, and that is our core mission at United Way.

Little Steps in Detroit

The Little Steps initiative has encouraged 3,174 families to begin a daily reading habit. After a fruitful partnership with hospitals, United Way is turning the initiative over to them, confident that families will keep getting a strong start.

No one knows better than Mom that the path to a good life begins long before a child takes that first step. That crucial fact is the foundation for United Way’s strategy of empowering people to succeed at every stage of life, from “cradle to career.”

That work literally starts on Day One. In Detroit, for example, the Little Steps Hospital initiative provides new families with a literacy kit and a first book for the baby, along with advice on setting goals for the child, how to develop a ritual and literacy routine and how to connect to others who can support their family.

This is all in exchange for a commitment from the parent to read to their children at least 15 minutes each day. The families are also connected to basic needs resources through United Way’s 2-1-1 hotline, and invited into a network of other parents and caregivers.

Achievers for Life in Jacksonville

When Dominic Cummings was a student, his mentor, Curt, turned his life around. Dominic knew he wanted to give back in the same way, so he joined our Achievers For Life program as a mentor to Brajon.

Those early years are crucial, but we need to continue supporting kids as they enter middle school, and keep them from falling through the cracks. Too many middle schoolers are checking out, acting out and flunking tests. But middle schoolers enrolled in United Way’s Achievers for Life initiative are reversing that trend in Jacksonville, FL.

Among these students, multiple suspensions decreased by 68 percent, students with a D or F in English decreased by 54 percent, and students with a D or F in math decreased by 60 percent. So far, nearly 3,500 students have gotten back on track to graduation. 

Graduating Our Future in Winston-Salem

There is no better Mother's Day gift than a strong foundation for a child's success in school, work and life. And a diploma is a cornerstone of that foundation. In 2013-14, high school graduation rate across the United States rose to 82%, the highest ever recorded.

Since 2007, the overall high school graduation rate in Winston Salem and Forsyth County has risen from 70.7% to 83.5%. United Way's goal is 90% by 2018.

We're on the right track, but there’s more to do. That’s why communities like Winston-Salem, NC are committed to equipping every young person graduate with the skills they need to thrive in life. Experts say high school graduates get better jobs, and live longer, healthier lives.

Education is Just One of the Building Blocks for a Good Quality Life

Of course, moms know that much of what shapes a child's success in school happens outside the classroom. United Way recognizes the complexity of the challenge, and we complement our work in education with equally robust efforts in financial stability and health.

So far, “The Adventures of Agent Penny” has been performed at 520 schools. After watching the performance, more than 13,000 children report that they have started to save.

And as with our work in education, we start early here too. In Indonesia, where individuals and families face mounting debt, United Way is helping to put the next generation on a better path, using a popular theatrical production, “The Adventures of Agent Penny,” to provide financial education to 5th and 6th grade students.

We also know that much of what impacts a person’s health happens outside the doctor’s office. From ensuring a healthy and free school breakfast for every student in Toledo’s public schools to providing drinkable water to 1,500 families in Uganda, we’re committed to building healthy communities where everyone can thrive.

Happy Mother’s Day from your sons and daughters at United Way. We aspire to make you proud every day by doing our part to make the world a better place.

Honor your mom by volunteering.

Moms have always shown us selflessness. Pay it forward in your own community and make your mom proud.