United Way of Chattanooga

Help children and youth achieve their full potential

Great things are happening, thanks to you! 

Education is fundamental to a successful life. Starting at birth and going through graduation, United Way of Greater Chattanooga helps children start out right and stay on track for success. Our community is better when children and youth become productive, successful adults.

Here’s what we’re doing.

Project Ready for School 
A good start at birth is critical to finishing school successfully. The fact is, children who start kindergarten without the critical learning skills needed for success are more likely to have problems finishing school later.

United Way helps through Project Ready for School. This unique program provides free books from Imagination Library for children from birth to age 5, because reading to children every day is the best way to build vocabulary.

United Way also provides Learning Checkups for children, to help assure parents that their child’s skills are developing on track, or point to the need for further evaluation.

Project Ready for School Outcomes

  • 18,435 children from 0–5 received a free book every month. 
  • 5,379 parents are monitoring their child’s developmental skills.
  • 86.6% of children screened with Learning Checkups were maintaining age-appropriate developmental skills.

Early Childhood Institute 
Access to quality early education is another critical factor in students’ academic success. United Way’s Early Childhood Institute works with local childcare centers by providing assessment, training and support to teachers and directors to ensure high-quality environments, academic curricula, and strong teacher-child interactions.

Early Childhood Institute Outcomes

  • Provided professional development to 114 teachers and directors in 10 early childhood programs.
  • 94% of programs demonstrated strong or exemplary classroom environments.
  • 78% of classrooms demonstrated strong or exemplary language and literacy environments.
  • 81% of children entering Kindergarten had age-appropriate literacy skills.

Graduation Initiative

When children can’t read at grade level, they are at high risk of dropping out of school. This gap becomes critical in third grade. In 2014, United Way, as a partner in the Chattanooga Literacy initiative, helped children close the gap in grade-level reading through Lexia. It is an Internet-based learning program that helps kids effectively improve their reading skills. In fact, it’s been shown that students can advance several reading skill levels in just a few months. Lexia makes learning to read fun. Because it’s Internet based, it’s available to students wherever they are. This is another innovative United Way program that helps students stay on track for success.

Lexia Outcomes

  • More than 6,700 students used the Lexia program at 60 locations in Hamilton County.
  • 22% increase in students K–5th grade reading at or above grade level after just one month of use. 

Youth Quality Program Initiative (YQPI) 
Kids don’t spend the whole day in school, so how are they spending time out of school? Is it spent productively? Many youths attend after-school programs. To assure these kids have access to high-quality youth programs that keep them on track for success, United Way partner out-of-school time programs use the Youth Quality Program Assessment. The Assessment evaluates the quality of youth experiences, helps programs identify areas to strengthen, and builds staff professional competencies.

YQPI Outcomes

  • 13 organizations are enhancing their youth programming based on assessment data.

What kinds of things does Youth Quality Program Assessment measure?

  • Safe environment
  • Supportive environment
  • Interaction 
  • Engagement 
  • Access
  • Youth-centered policies and practices 
  • High expectations for youth and staff 
  • Availability of caring adults in kids’ lives

Early Intervention
Early Intervention helps address one of our community’s most pressing challenges: enabling all students to stay on track to graduate from high school, ready for college or job training. In an era of data-driven education reform, early intervention is at the cutting edge of how schools, students, educators, and communities can use data to help children achieve success.

Academic Support Results

  • 10,927 children were served. One out of two children in the program attended school at least 95% of the time, demonstrated positive behavior, and improved their grades.

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