Metro United Way Stories

Local Success Stories - Volunteering and Advocating for Our Neighbors

KINDERGARTEN READINESS

Classrooms inspire children to learn

Classrooms inspire children to learn!

At Metro United Way's Excellence Academy early learning centers (EA), supported in partnership with Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C) and the Lift a Life Foundation, teachers are encouraged to use the Reggio Emilia approach, an innovative educational philosophy which uses the environment as the "third teacher" for children to learn and thrive...

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A Natural Way to Learn through Play

Dorman Preschool in Shelby County, one of our Excellence Academy early learning centers, recently completed the first phase of building a natural playground to serve as their outside classroom...

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EXCELLENCE ACADEMY - A NEW BEGINNING

When Mrs. Rose lost her son to gun violence two years ago, her hope for all good things in her community vanished. But after meeting with the coaches from the Excellence Academy and touring other sites, this hopelessness changed into joy and thankfulness...

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Tracking Progress,
Creating Success

Do you ever wonder how your child is doing during the work day? Are they building with blocks, playing with friends or eating their lunch? At The Children's Learning Center at Goodwill of Southern Indiana, parents don't have to wonder...

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No More Perfect Bulletin Boards In This Classroom!

Stacey Pierce owns and operates A+ Academy, a licensed child care home in New Albany, and is one of 21 child care homes and centers benefitting from the Indiana Association of United Way's "Work2Gether" grant that Metro United Way received this year...

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New Adventures. New Learnings.

Rolling down a hill without a care in the world is a popular childhood memory for many of us. But the reality in our community today is that many children aren't even exposed to the natural elements outdoors. In some instances, there is a lack of green space to play freely or it's too dangerous for children to play outside in their own neighborhood...

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Fostering a Love of Learning

We are proud to say that 24 teachers in our Excellence Academy centers have achieved their Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) this past year. What does that mean? The CDA is considered a major stepping stone on the path of professional development in the early childhood field...

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The ART of Learning

Kim Frazier-Pirog, Director of Side by Side Studio, recently visited two of our Excellence Academy early learning centers, Keystone Learning Academy and the Southwest Family YMCA, to bring a joyful learning experience through playing with art. In the Reggio approach, the classroom is thought of as the "third teacher" and includes elements like neutral colors, home-like touches and natural materials...

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Preschool Teacher
Inspired by Learning

Recently, Tiffany Woolfolk, an Excellence Academy teacher at Keystone Learning Academy, received her Childhood Development Accreditation (CDA), advancing her education with the latest child care practices to benefit both herself and the children in her classroom...

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When Teachers Learn
Our Kids Do Too

Metro United Way's Excellence Academy early learning program is invested in training high-quality teachers to teach our future leaders. This past summer, 36 of our Excellence Academy early learning teachers and staff had an opportunity to attend two learning tours...

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Creating Remarkable
Change in Kids

At Keystone Learning Academy, one of seven Excellence Academy early learning centers supported by Metro United Way, Director Sharon Hemingway has noticed a remarkable change in the kids. The atmosphere in the classroom - located in a highly challenged neighborhood - is now so much more peaceful, calm and conducive to learning.

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Development Begins At Birth

The social, emotional and physical development of young children has a direct effect on their overall development and on their future as an adult. In fact, 90% of brain development happens before age six!

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Begindergarten Increases Knowledge by 31%

This past summer, Metro United Way created a pilot program – Begindergarten – that served 24 students who were preparing to enter two kindergarten classrooms at Green Valley Elementary School in Floyd County, where 93% of the students receive free or reduced lunch.

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Congressman Yarmuth Visits Excellence Academy Site

We welcomed Congressman Yarmuth to one of our Excellence Academy early learning centers – the Southwest YMCA – to show him the work that is being done in these classrooms to help change the odds for children in our community through quality early learning.

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Boost Your Baby's Brain

One of Metro United Way's Community Aspirations is that all children in our community arrive at kindergarten prepared to learn. And we know that during the first couple years of a child's life, their brain is growing and learning at a rate much faster than any other time; in fact, by the time a child is only three-years-old, their brain has already reached 90% of its adult size!

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Excellence Academy
Empowers Teachers

Recently one of the teachers at our Excellence Academy early learning centers, Sarah Bonifer, realized the similarity of our preschool teacher program to the classic children’s book, The Little Engine that Could.

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Playing to Prepare for Kindergarten

Amanda Perry, an Excellence Academy teacher at Dorman Preschool, used a hula hoop as a learning opportunity for the students in her classroom.

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HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION

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Youth Achievement through Art

In our community, one quality out-of-school-time (OST) program helping our youth achieve this goal through fine arts is The Youth Repertory Theater Troupe of Louisville (YRTTL) - the first theater company in the city that is run and operated by youth...

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Richard's Story: An Hour a Week Matters!

How can one hour a week reading with a child really make a difference?

So thought Richard Jones, Senior Vice President, Investments at Harmony Wealth Partners of Raymond James, 18 years ago when he first volunteered as a mentor with Big Brother Big Sisters of Kentuckiana (BBBS), an out-of-school time (OST) partner of Metro United Way...

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Transforming Lives Outside the Classroom

Created by Family and Children's Place, CLASP provides an ideal environment to cultivate youth's learning and improve academic performance through enrichment activities such as daily homework help, service learning projects, life skills and peer relationship groups that focus on team building, leadership skills, anger management techniques and reduction of risk-taking behaviors...

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Em's Delights

OST Program Turned Her Passion Into A Reality

Emie has accomplished a lot for being just 18-years old. She recently graduated from Assumption High School, but at the same time, started her own company, Em's Delights, offering delicious sweet treats! Thanks to a quality out-of-school time (OST) program, she gained resources and confidence to turn her passion into a business...

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2NOT1 Rite of Passages

Positive Mentors Lead to Youth Success

The 2NOT1 Rite of Passages (ROP) - one of Metro United Way's Black Male Achievement Innovation Fund grantees - is an out-of-school time (OST) mentoring program that is designed to assist boys with their transition into early adulthood...

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Lighthouse Academy of Newburg - a BLOCStar OST program

Quality OST programs pave the way to a bright future

The Lighthouse Academy of Newburg - a BLOCStar OST program - not only works on improving the academic skills of youth, but also provides experiences designed to encourage their development of moral character and leadership skills...

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Music's Impact on Academic Success

Academy of Music Production Education and Development (AMPED) - one of Metro United Way's Black Male Achievement Innovation Fund grantees - is a quality out-of-school time program that aims to provide a safe environment for youth to explore their creativity through music...

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Touching Lives With Quality Out-Of-School Time

The correlation between high-quality out-of-school time (OST) programs and youth success is undeniable; kids who participate in quality OST programs are 12% less likely to drop out of school as their peers! That's why we're excited to lead BLOCS, a council working to create a premier OST system that advances our children's learning outside of the classroom in order to improve education outcomes, as they launch a new initiative called BLOCStar...

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Kendall

An OST Program That Changed My Child's Life

Kendall is a rising senior at Pleasure Ridge Park High School and on his way to achieving a major milestone in his life - graduating high school on time. His story has not been without its challenges, but with the support of community organizations and resources, he has been empowered to create a bright future for himself...

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Salt and Light

Mentoring Shines a Light!

As one of Metro United Way's Black Male Achievement Initiative grantees, Salt and Light Community Development Corporation has been making a positive change in our community through the Boys to Men Academy of Louisville...

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Quality Programs and Skilled Youth Workers Help Ensure a Great Future

Recognizing, honoring and coordinating the professional training required to be a skilled youth work professional is something that had been missing in our community until now. Recently BLOCS launched the professional Youth Development Certificate (YDC)...

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Summer Learning:
Closing the Achievement Gap

The summer is quickly approaching which means vacation for many students in our community. While classes will be out of session, there are many opportunities for youth to engage in learning and develop essential skills to avoid falling behind once school is back in session...

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Quality Matters When
Changing Lives

Graduating on time, improving test scores, and deepening engaging learning performance are just a few of the goals that quality out-of-school time (OST) programs have for students. Studies have shown that regular participation in high quality OST programs is linked to significant gains in academic achievement and social-emotional skills...

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Students Helping Students Succeed

Out-of-school time program partner, Educational Justice, works to innovate and implement practical solutions aimed at closing the opportunity gap in education. One of these solutions, called EJ Activists, takes the model of students mentoring students...

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Learning The Skills That Lead To Success

Metro United Way recently held a very special graduation where fifteen young men graduated from this year's Rites of Passage program in a ceremony attended by their families. We invest in quality out-of-school time (OST) programs because they play a critical role in making sure our youth develop the skills needed for long term achievement and wellbeing...

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Mom Thanks Mentor For Changing Son's Odds

We recently received a letter sent from a single parent in our community. The odds were stacked against her son, but through the power of mentoring her son's future is looking much brighter! We're thrilled to share her inspiring letter with you...

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These Students Are College
and Career Ready

This past year in Southern Indiana, we had the opportunity to be part of a brand new College and Career Readiness Initiative being implemented in the Greater Clark School System. In its first year, thanks to wonderful partnerships, this College and Career Readiness Initiative produced amazing results:

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Brandon's OST Program and Mentor Helped Him Graduate High School and College!

Brandon was raised in the West End of Louisville by a single parent. An out-of-school time (OST) program helped him focus on his educational and career goals and overcome some of the challenges he faced in his neighborhood and school...

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Mentoring Helps Kids
Graduate High School

We know that kids who are mentored are less likely to use drugs, alcohol, skip school, hit someone or lie to their parents. And they develop crucial social skills and confidence, which help them stay on track to graduate high school. Kids are often connected with mentors when participating in high-quality out-of-school (OST) programs, such as the YMCA.

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Driven to be "Better Citizen"

Lexi Bergman is part of 4-H in Oldham County, which is a quality OST community partner of ours. The structured learning, encouragement and mentoring received in 4-H plays a vital role in helping youth achieve success in life. "4-H did not ask me to become a better citizen; it drove me to become one," says Lexi. "It challenged me with project books, leadership roles, community service and in return gave me opportunities."...

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Journey to High School Graduation

Currently in Jefferson County, nearly 1 out of every 3 kids who enters high school as a freshman will not make it through their senior year. We can illustrate the importance of high school graduation with the game many of us grew up playing: “The Game of Life." Today it can help demonstrate the ups and downs of a child’s path to success - based on real world situations, consequences and results...

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Yes, Mentoring Makes
a Difference!

Yes, mentoring works! Just ask Chase who is a “Little” with our valued community partner, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana. “Now I finally look forward to something. We do unexpected things – like science experiments and going to museums. We laugh a lot,” says Chase. “I’m also doing better in school, because my Bigs are smart and teach me new things. And the best part is, they like me!”

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4 Power Skills Kids Need to Succeed and Employers Want

Few of us are born with these Power Skills already in place. We acquire these skills through active learning – practice and feedback – activities that comprise the gold standard for youth development programs. By focusing on Power Skills development, Metro United Way and OST programs are helping youth lay the foundation for future success. And you can help make an impact. Volunteer to help develop these Power Skills for our youth by lending your time and talent to an OST program in our community.

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Changing Lives Through Mentoring - Mia's Story

Mia Cooper, Early Care and Education project manager for Metro United Way, has been making a positive difference in the lives of children in our community for over 10 years by following her passion for dance. Now she volunteers every other week to teach liturgical dance, an expression of worship, to youth ages 7-17 at her church.

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Preparing Youth to Graduate High School on Time

It’s wonderful to see your kids succeed in school and make good choices, and on graduation day, it’s an especially proud moment. Just ask Donna and Gary Wooten, whose son, Austin, recently graduated from Floyd Central High School in New Albany, Indiana.

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HEALTH AND WELL BEING

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How ASQ helped save David's life!

A Bullitt County mother concerned about her 18 month old daughter's speech development called First Steps, an early intervention provider for children under the age of 3. They didn't detect enough developmental delay for their services, but they referred her to Metro United Way's Ages & Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) program for continued monitoring and developmental support.

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Helping Families Get Prescriptions They Need

Through Metro United Way's partnership with FamilyWize, uninsured and underinsured individuals and families in our seven county region saved over $1 million locally in 2016 by using free prescription cards to acquire needed prescription medications!

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Healthy Minds & Bodies For Kids And Families

Research repeatedly shows that a healthy mind and body are a strong foundation for success in school and life. At Meyzeek Middle School, CLASP (Collaborative Learning After-School Program), is a year-round out-of-school (OST) program led by Family & Children's Place - a Metro United Way partner agency - that focuses on a wide range of activities that positively impact the entire family...

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Healthy Eating Is A
Foundation For Success

One of the easiest ways to set your child's foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating is to get them involved in planning and cooking meals. They will be excited to help you prepare dinner by measuring and mixing ingredients, and they'll be learning math and science as well as valuable health and wellness lessons at the same time...

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A Healthy Start Is A Smart Start

When thinking about being healthy, we tend to think about what we eat or our exercise routines, but it's important to remember that ever-important space between the ears that is critical to our wellbeing: our brains!

And this is especially crucial for the first five years of a child's life, when 90% of brain development happens...

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Brushing Teeth Leads To More
Than Just A Pretty Smile

Good health influences everything from how well a child is able to learn in the classroom to how much an adult is able to earn in the workplace - its effects truly last a lifetime. Oral health is no exception. In fact, research shows that dental health has a real effect on a child's performance at school, career success and overall quality of life...

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Getting Back To Nature
Boosts Health

One thing is obvious when you watch children on a playground: kids LOVE to play. Studies also support a child's need to connect with the natural world as a regular part of healthy growth and development...

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Farm to (School) Table

Success in school is the foundation for success in life, and healthy eating is a critical building block for that foundation! Studies show that good nutrition improves brain function and intelligence levels of school-aged children...

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Healthy Eating a Building Block for Success

For some students when the school doors close, they struggle to access educational opportunities and basic needs such as healthy meals and living. Because of this, we are proud to partner with several organizations that offer quality out-of-school time learning opportunities for our community's youth throughout the year.

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2-1-1 Supports Louisville Linked and JCPS Students

Metro United Way - along with Jefferson County Public Schools and Louisville Linked - is working to remove barriers to learning by connecting students in need with the resources that can help. Our 2-1-1 help referral service supports our community's students and educators by connecting them to the organizations approved by Louisville Linked to provide support to JCPS students....

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Parkland Boys and Girls Garden Club

We know that when basic needs are met, we are healthier, more financially stable, our children do better in school and our communities thrive. The Parkland Boys and Girls Club is taking matters into their own hands, and even getting them a little dirty, with their new Kentucky Proud Urban Garden program.

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A Healthy Beginning: Strategies and Approaches

Even if a child is born healthy, the high cost of health care and baby supplies means that one in three American mothers struggle even to provide diapers for their babies.

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FAMILY STABILITY

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Sheila's Story - VITA Means Extra Money for Families

For more than 10 years, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, a partnership between Metro United Way and the Louisville Asset Building Coalition, has helped families prepare their taxes at no cost and also claim valuable tax credits they are eligible for such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC)...

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ASQ Parent Network Celebrates Kwanzaa

ASQ Parent Network Celebrates Kwanzaa

Metro United Way parent advocates in our Ages & Stages Questionnaires Parent Network work together with low-income families in our California, Russell and Portland neighborhoods, building networks by starting with a trusted leader in each neighborhood that has a passion for children and learning...

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Empowering Social Service Providers With Financial Stability

We're proud to partner with Louisville Metro Community Services and FINRA Investor Education Foundation through a partnership with United Way Worldwide to provide a Personal Finance Empowerment Series especially for human service government and nonprofit case managers and front-line staff...

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Moving Families from Crisis to Long-Term Stability

When families are stable, our community is stronger and everyone wins. One way that Metro United Way helps individuals strengthen their families is through a partnership with the Siemer Institute for Family Stability, a national, integrated, and comprehensive model to prevent family homelessness and reduce school mobility...

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Make Sure Your Kids Have The Early Skills Needed To Succeed

Learning begins at birth - and from these first days of life, children begin using their bodies to learn about the world around them. Physical movement is key to developing gross and fine motor skills, which are both necessary to help kids grow and succeed in life...

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20,000+ Books to Kids and Families

The Little Libraries initiative, a Metro United Way partnership with the 2014 Bingham Fellows, gives neighbors and businesses an opportunity to host libraries in their front yards so that families that might not have easy access to the public library, or have books in their home, can get free books in their own neighborhood...

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Gail Is Reaching Her Goals With The Help Of VITA Volunteers

Gail has taken advantage of the free VITA program for years and says, "They work so hard to make other peoples' lives better." With the money she's saved and received from her returns, she's enrolled in a doctoral program and used the funds to help with books and supplies to reach her goals in college...

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95% of Parents Agree That ASQ Really Helps!

For parents of newborns and young children, tracking developmental milestones between "well" doctor's visits might be something we don't think is necessary. The Ages & Stages Questionnaires identify strengths and provides activities for parents and children to help and encourage learning for children from birth to six years old for lifelong success...

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ASQ: Joy, Curiosity &
Strong Families

Metro United Way's Ages & Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) program tracks a child's development from birth to kindergarten, helping parents ensure their children are on track so that they can help them learn and grow as much as possible during their crucial early years...

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Helping Families
During Tax Season

For children to be successful, their families must be strong, and financial stability is an important part of that. Yet many families in our community struggle to make ends meet and may need some extra support. That's why Metro United Way helps families strengthen their financial stability by increasing access to benefits and building financial assets.

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Healthy Babies Reflect
the Health of Our Community

A new initiative in our community - Healthy Babies Louisville - recently launched that helps provide better care and support of babies, children of all ages, and their families. Metro United Way is excited to participate in this new collective impact initiative, concentrating on reducing infant mortality and improving birth outcomes in our community.

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Restoring Hope for the Future

Restoring Hope for the Future

When families are stable, our community is stronger. One way that Metro United Way helps individuals strengthen their families is through a partnership with the Siemer Institute for Family Stability that works to prevent family homelessness and reduce school mobility.

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Opening the Doors of Opportunity through
Financial Stability

This month, Bank On Louisville, a collaborative effort to strengthen our community's economic well being, celebrates its 5th anniversary! Since its launch, more than 19,000 formerly "unbanked" individuals have entered the financial mainstream by opening checking accounts and starting savings plans.

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Jackie Biven

Financial Empowerment
Program Helps Dream
Become Reality

A long-time, proud resident of the Portland neighborhood in Louisville, Biven's dream of owning her own hair and nail salon is now squarely in her sights. One thing is clear: No obstacle can prevent Jacqueline Biven from that dream.

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Parents Matter.
Attendance Works.

More than 400 yard signs were placed in the Park Hill, Algonquin and Old Louisville neighborhoods with an invaluable message: Parents Matter. Attendance Works.

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ASQ Toy Drive A Huge Success!

Recently, Metro United Way led a toy drive within our community specifically for 150 children in our Neighborhood Ages & Stages Questionnaires Parent Network in Louisville. We reached more than our original goal, and now these educational toys are in the hands of parents or caregivers to give their child for Christmas to enjoy playful learning!

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Addressing The Whole Family

Metro United Way’s  Ages & Stages Questionnaires (ASQ) program tracks a child’s development from birth to kindergarten, helping parents ensure their children are on track so that they can help them learn and grow as much as possible during their crucial early years. We’ve found that families who participate in the ASQ often gain more support and resources that ensure their family stability and success than just for the children alone.

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Engaging Families through "Parent Cafés"

Just 40% of children in Louisville’s Portland neighborhood arrive at kindergarten ready to learn. This statistic isn’t okay with resident Mary Jolly, who wants kids in her neighborhood to have the same chance for a good quality of life as kids in other parts of our community.

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