With United Way of Southwest Virginia, you have an entire team dedicated to Childhood Success.
United We Win by improving the quality of early experiences that equip children for success in school and life.
United We Win by ensuring children start school ready to succeed and become proficient readers.
The Childhood Success team supports United Way of Southwest Virginia’s cradle-to-career approach.
United Way innovates for positive, lasting social change by creating sustainable solutions to address the challenges facing tomorrow’s workforce and through collaboration with government, business, nonprofit and individuals.
United We Achieve This By:
Building a strong Early Childhood system through community partners
Supporting educators to increase high-quality care, especially those serving birth-36 months
Working with communities to ensure every child is reading on grade-level
Increasing availability, quality, and access to early learning opportunities across the region
The Childhood Success department at United Way of Southwest Virginia is the SWVA hub that strengthens the network of providers working together to improve families’ access to high-quality childcare. The core services offered by the Childhood Success team members include:
rating assessments for centers serving children birth to five, CLASS, ITERS, ECERS, quality level advancements
modeling, customized educational resources, quality improvement plans of action, feedback
on-site training, off-site evening training, directors’ learning community, peer-to-peer learning communities, conferences, scholarships, webinars, classroom management
classroom enhancements, online education, licensing, toolkits, code compliance
Our Childhood Success Initiatives
Al’s Pals is a comprehensive curriculum and teacher training program that develops social-emotional skills, self-control, problem-solving abilities, and healthy decision-making in children ages 3-8 years old. The Al’s Pal’s program is part of a grant initiative awarded through the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth.
Backpacks Unite provides nutritious weekend meals during each school year to over 1,000 elementary and middle school-aged students throughout Southwest Virginia ensuring that students come to school Monday ready to learn and ready to succeed.
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is a collaborative effort to ensure that many more children from low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for college, a career, and active citizenship. In Southwest Virginia, the GLR Campaign began with the distribution of 50,000 brand new, high-quality books donated by The Soho Center, a 46-year-old nonprofit in Virginia. The CGLR Campaign is led and supported by United Way of Southwest Virginia, and school systems, libraries, summer, and after-school programs, and various cross-sector organizations are collaborating to put the GLR framework and priorities into action over a multi-year period.
Campaign for Grade-Level Reading: The Summer Slide
Research shows that children who do not read during the summer can lose up to three months of reading progress and those losses add up, year-after-year. But reading just six books over the summer, at the right reading level for the child, can prevent that “summer slide” and keep a struggling reader from losing important reading skills.
Campaign for Grade-Level Reading: Attendance Resource Compass
With the second release of national data on chronic absence from the Office for Civil Rights for the 2015-2016 school year, we now know that over 8 million students across the country are chronically absent. This puts an unacceptable number of tomorrow’s workforce off-track to read proficiently by third grade and for early school success overall.
Starting as early as preschool and kindergarten, chronic absence can leave third graders unable to read proficiently, sixth graders struggling with coursework and high school students off track for graduation. Chronic absence is especially problematic among students living in poverty who are most likely to have poor attendance over multiple years and least likely to have the resources to make up for the lost time in the classroom. In some communities, chronic absence affects more than one out of four children.
The Childcare Start-up Assistance Project was created to improve the professional development of those who work with young children in childcare and pre-school settings, as well as assist individuals as they start their own family day home or small child care center in counties that have little or no existing licensed care. This project is supported by a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, a United States federal-state partnership that works with the people of Appalachia to create opportunities for self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life.
Mixed Delivery Preschool Project
The Mixed Delivery Preschool Project is a pilot designed by United Way of Southwest Virginia to provide 8 private licensed childcare centers with support and resources not typically found in private childcare. The project uses a cross-sector collaborative approach to strengthen the quality of care for four-year-olds by assessing current needs and developing a plan to improve teacher education, curriculum, environment, enrollment, community resource utilization, and classroom interactions. The Mixed Delivery Preschool Project is part of a grant initiative awarded through the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Tool Kit
During pregnancy, drugs taken by the mother pass to the baby. Some babies born to mothers who used opioids while pregnant may experience neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). NAS happens when a baby goes through withdrawal from certain substances after birth. NAS is a medical diagnosis based on several factors. Babies are not “addicted” – addiction is a chronic disease which involves continued behavior despite harm. Babies by definition cannot be addicted, but are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. A baby that is substance exposed, or SEI (substance exposed infant), is one that does not meet the medical criteria for a diagnosis of NAS, but was exposed to substances during pregnancy.
Preschool Development Initiative
The Preschool Development Initiative is testing innovative strategies to strengthen early childhood care and education. The ultimate goal is to improve education outcomes for children. As part of a statewide network of 11 communities, UWSWVA will collect data from key partners in family day home, center-based child care, Head Start and school programs for a statewide needs assessment and strategic plan. The plan will be used to align early learning standards across early care and learning settings,and develop kindergarten-readiness tools with and for all publicly funded programs. During this one-year initiative, UWSWVA will support Carroll, Russell, Tazewell, and Wythe counties, and the city of Bristol to better unify child care, Head Start, and pre-K at the local level.
Smart Beginnings brings together community partners dedicated to creating a quality early childhood system of care that improves the access to, the quality of, and the coordination of services for young children and their families. Smart Beginnings is part of a grant initiative awarded through the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation.
Virginia Infant & Toddler Specialist Network
United Way of Southwest Virginia serves as the Western Regional Office for the statewide Virginia Infant & Toddler Specialist Network (VA ITSN). VA ITSN delivers on-site consultations, trainings, mentoring, feedback, and support to program providers that care for children birth-36 months, and helps providers make connections to existing community resources. The VA Infant & Toddler Specialist Network is a program of Child Development Resources and is supported by a Virginia Department of Social Services Grant with funds made available to Virginia from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Virginia Quality leads the way for high-quality early education for our youngest Virginians by setting standards for quality and providing a path for continuous quality improvement at child care centers, preschools and family child care homes across the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia Quality is part of a grant initiative funded through the Virginia Department of Social Services.
This entire team is dedicated to Childhood Success.