2020 innovations lead to 2021 enhanced service delivery

We are all hopeful the new year will lead to healthier and happier lives. To say 2020 was challenging for us, our partners and clients, would be a massive understatement.

Trident United Way's 76-year tradition of serving came to life this past year. United, we rose up and innovated while focusing on serving those in need. Our Community Impact team touched thousands of lives, working at all hours to do it.
Our Trident United Way teams upgraded technology to serve clients better remotely, using portable scanners to send vital documents to service providers so clients could obtain urgently needed help.

The pandemic strengthened our partnerships with service providers to work together to serve people without delay.

Annual events such as Day of Caring forged ahead both virtually and in-person following all public health guidelines.

Our commitment to serve remains strong and we look forward to working together to create opportunities that no other organization can do. Last year was tough, but UNITED, we will continue to lead through service to the community.

Please scroll down to our Financial Stability section to learn more about our 2020 service and innovations for 2021.

Pictured above: a volunteer from First National Bank on the 2020 Day of Caring
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Reading By Third - Our most successful education program ever
Thanks to generous donors and partnerships with all four Tri-County school districts, Trident United Way had its most successful education program ever with the Tri-County Reading by Third Project, which boosted reading grade level 24% on average.

The program was offered for the 2017 to 2020 school years. Specialized teacher training and targeting students with reading difficulties have paid learning dividends across the region.

In summary:
• University of Florida Lastinger Center Literacy Initiative program provided initial and continuous training/coaching to teachers in 12 schools across all four local school districts 
• $1.38M invested during the three-year project by Trident United Way
• 96 teachers trained (not including reading coaches and administrators)
• 4,775 students taught by UFLI trained teachers

Reading by Third Lives on through Literacy United: Johns Island

Reading by Third lives on in a new three-year program called Literacy United. It's a partnership of Trident United Way, Charleston County School District, University of Florida Lastinger Center and community leaders and philanthropists.

Mt. Zion Elementary School teachers received specialized trained to assist young scholars in four areas:

Gaining fluency/measuring progress; Word work; Reading a new book; Writing for reading.

The intervention aims to increase the number of students reading at grade level by third grade - a milestone where a child transitions from learning to read to reading to learn.

Stay tuned - we'll provide more updates on Literacy United as the program rolls on!

2020 didn't stop us from serving - 2021 brings new opportunities
COVID-19 changed how Trident United Way directly serves clients. The days of having clients just walk into Resource Connection Centers disappeared and we had to come up with new solutions to serve a quickly growing client base.

Faced with adversity, a team of four of our direct service providers put their lives on hold to serve our community.

Instead of answering client calls in the office, calls went directly to cell phones, seemingly at all hours of the day and night.

Trident United Way and our AmeriCorps team worked overtime to handle the crush of service requests.

Among the innovations for 2020/2021:

  • New features on CharityTracker software to better integrate service providers
  • Virtual client intake and forms, making the process more efficient and accurate
  • Using text to engage with clients
  • Navigating client transportation issues, including meeting them remotely & safely
  • Enhanced methods to digitally and securely manage client data
  • Mobile scanners and printers for quicker client service

Service delivery methods for 2021 will continue to adjust based on public health directives, but our commitment to serve will never stop.

Keeping our kids healthier
Trident United Way is excited to announce a new program that brings the lessons of gardening and healthy lifestyles to our schools.

The School Gardening for SC Educators program gives students an appreciation for healthy lifestyles while getting hands-on experience and learn where our food is grown or originates.

The Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas grant brings together our schools with a Clemson Extension program that combines horticulture training, ongoing technical support and equipment for schools to start and sustain school gardens.

COVID-19 has shown a clear linkage between chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease and higher levels of hospitalizations.

This spring, Trident United Way will be announcing which schools will receive funding to start their own gardens and specialized healthy lifestyle programs. Students eating nutritious and healthy foods are well positioned to be better learners which can guide them throughout life.

Click here for more on how Trident United Way is bringing the program to the Tri-County.