Improving lives by mobilizing communities to create sustained changes in community conditions.
Community problem-solving activities share these key characteristics:
- The issues addressed are of broad community interest-no one organization, acting alone, can solve them.
- The impact of these issues is community-wide, not confined to any one organization's operations, programs, or relations with other organizations.
- A range of community leaders in both the public and private sectors participates in community problem solving.
- Participants in community problem solving seek responses that are inclusive, timely and flexible.
United Way of Kosciusko County is working to advance the common good by focusing on education, income, and health. These are the building blocks for a good life - a quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family through retirement and good health.
Our Vision Councils meet each year to review the funding requests for area programs. From this year forward, programs requesting funds are asked to select which new United Way focus area they fit into and how they might help us to accomplish our set goals: to raise our county's graduation rate and create more economically self sufficient individuals and families.
Kosciusko County's high school graduation rate currently sits at 88.3%. After careful deliberation among topic experts, community, and local leadership members, United Way has developed a plan to raise this statistic. Our strategy to achieve this will be to fund programs that deal with school readiness and early academic achievement. When children enter school more prepared and have mastered appropriate literacy skills by grade three, they are more likely to succeed throughout school. An additional benefit is that successful students generally have fewer behavioral issues.
There are numerous families and individuals who struggle to make ends meet but especially so with the current economic struggles. United Way of Kosciusko County would like to increase the number of working families and individuals that are economically self-sufficient. This goal will be achieved by funding programs that make a difference in employability, family management, or family stabilization. When individuals have the tools and skills necessary to get a stable job and learn how to manage their budget, they are better prepared to be financially independent.
United Way of Kosciusko County recognizes health as an important aspect of a person's life. We are in the process of defining direction, goals and programs in this area in regards to an improved specific funding focus. Our overall goal is to create long-lasting changes that address the issues at the root cause. We invite you to be part of the change. Together, united, we can inspire hope and create opportunities for a better tomorrow. That's what it means to LIVE UNITED.
Progress in Education
Regardless of which school corporation a child enters kindergarten in Kosciusko County, the list of what they need to know will be the same. All three in-county school corporations now have a standardized list of "What Children Need To Know Before Starting Kindergarten". The United Way of Kosciusko County led this effort in partnership with Wawasee, Warsaw and Tippecanoe Valley School Systems. The United Way has two strategies aimed towards education, and kindergarten readiness is one of them. The United Way also funds numerous programs for kindergarten readiness. These programs, along with day care providers in Kosciusko County, will also use the standardized list as a tool for preparing children for kindergarten.
Progress in Health
The United Way of Kosciusko County is proud to announce that current contributors to their campaign helped to bring more than $160,000 in grant money to the county. At the beginning of 2010, United Way was offered the opportunity, through the Indiana Association of United Ways, to apply for the matching 1010 grant. The 1010 grant is a dollar for dollar matching grant for increased or new dollars raised in the campaign. This grant required the United Way to outline how they would use the additional funds and is not intended to inflate the distribution pool for normal community investments. The grant had to define how the funds would be applied to the purpose of Education, Income, or Health. The Board approved a partnership with the K21 Health Foundation to collaborate on a children's oral health program here in the community for the grant award. This initiative is in the development stages with an anticipated implementation date of August 2011.