Childhood Success

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.

Cradle to Career

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.

We Help You Help them Get Ready for School.
Childhood Success

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

Boy playing at school
United We Win. Live United

Our Childhood Success Initiatives

Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

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. 

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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.

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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.

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Childcare Start-up Assistance Project

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. 

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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.

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

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. 

Tender Loving Caregivers Conference

United Way of Southwest Virginia hosts the Tender Loving Caregivers Conference to provide a day celebrating the great work of early childhood professionals in Southwest Virginia. We want every attendee to leave with information and best practices that will either add to their teachers’ tool-kits, or help them become the best version of themselves for the students that are in their care.

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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

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. 

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Early Childhood Education

Childhood Success Advisory Council

United Way of Southwest Virginia builds capability through customized technical assistance and professional development for early childhood educators.

The Smart Beginnings Coalitions and the Childhood Success Advisory Council are impact and improvement networks that help partners align efforts to improve the quality of life for children in their communities.  These groups focus on cradle-to-career outcomes that begin in the early years of life.

Coalitions are made up of the following counties and locations:

  • Tazewell

  • Wythe-Bland

  • Twin Counties – Grayson and Carroll Counties and City of Galax

  • Appalachian – Dickenson, Lee, Scott, and Wise Counties and City of Norton

  • Virginia Highlands – Buchanan, Russell, Smyth, and Washington Counties and City of Bristol

  • New River Valley

Contact Information

Ready to talk to us? Contact our Administrative Assistant for Childhood and Youth Success.

Taylor Rose
Taylor RoseAdministrative Assistant for Childhood and Youth Success
United Way of Southwest Virginia
Office: 276-628-2160 Extension: 4166