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UofL Cares Spotlight: Metro United Way

by Joe Tolan, president and CEO, Metro United Way last modified Oct 09, 2012 11:42 AM

(Editor's Note: This is the first of five UofL Cares spotlights.)

Our mission at Metro United Way is to improve lives and our community by engaging people to give, advocate and volunteer. We all have a stake in creating a community that offers a good quality of life for everyone. And it takes all of us working together to help make that happen. Metro United Way recruits people and organizations from across the community with the passion and expertise needed to get things done, and UofL’s partnership through UofL Cares is significant and deeply appreciated.

At Metro United Way, we believe by focusing on the building blocks of a good quality of life — education, financial stability and health — we help ensure a brighter tomorrow for all of us. We’re excited about this work and I wanted to share a few interesting highlights that demonstrate our commitment to our community:

We’ve built on our experience and learning from our highly successful Bridges to Tomorrow program — a program designed to improve the kindergarten readiness of pre-school age children — and created the Early Childhood Excellence Academy. Funded by a gift from the Lift a Life Foundation, the ECEA utilizes key insights we gained in over 12 early learning centers, where more than 155 teachers grow their skills through a specially-designed training program to the benefit of more than 900 children in their care. The teachers progress through nine levels of learning to achieve the “Master” level, earning increased compensation as they do so, thereby reducing turnover and ensuring more stable learning environments for the children.

We also recognize the importance of out-of-school time (OST) programs in our community; we know that what youth do outside the classroom can affect whether they graduate as much as what they do inside it. We’re strategically collaborating with 14 leadership providers to co-design a system of OST programs designed to advance the educational attainment of their student participants, helping kids spend their time positively and productively when they aren’t in school. We believe we all have a stake in making sure that today’s children grow up to be productive citizens who give back to our community.

And, of course, we continue to help ensure a compassionate network of quality services for those in need. After fierce tornados struck southern Indiana, within 48 hours Metro United Way formed a Volunteer Reception Center to coordinate manpower for immediate relief efforts. To date, we have placed more than 11,000 volunteers, and we’re committed to stay involved in the long-term recovery efforts under way.

This year, we’re asking our community to “GIVE 110 percent” to the Metro United Way annual campaign.  If everyone contributed 10 percen more, or considered giving for the first time, more of our youth can be on the path to a good education and for us to have stable, independent families and a strong community.

Together, we can make a difference. Remember, you can give, you can advocate and you can volunteer.

Won’t you join us to Live United and show your commitment to your community? For more information on how you can support Metro United Way, please email Marisa Welsh or call her at 502-292-6119.

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