Newsletter - June 2020
SPARK is the hub of a valuable wheel. An education initiative of Fox Valley United Way, SPARK (Strong, Prepared and Ready for Kindergarten) connects underserved Aurora, Illinois, families with early education and childcare opportunities that prepare their young children for success in school and life.
United Way believes that every person is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect – this includes equal treatment and access to justice. Recent events involving violence and threats against African Americans expose our society’s underlying racism, prejudice and privilege that prevent too many people from being treated with the humanity and respect they deserve. These incidents are abhorrent and run counter to everything that United Way, its volunteers and professionals value, live and fight for every day.
All people of all backgrounds and identities must call out discrimination and demand its removal from our society; otherwise, we are endorsing the status quo and are complicit in the abuses that follow.
We must all do our part, working United, to make our communities the places that we need them to be – equitable, respectful and opportunity-filled. We, as a society, can and must do better to guarantee that the basic human rights and freedoms of every person in every community are protected.
Dr. Juliette Tuakli
United Way Worldwide Board of Trustees
Brian Gallagher
United Way Worldwide President and CEO
SPARK Calendar
Our SPARK monthly calendar has been created to share ideas for activities for young children, including easy things you can do at home as well as new places to explore in the community. The month of July is focused activities and books that we can share with young children to promote compassion, empathy, learn about diversity and much more!
Supports for parents
Culturally Diverse Books by Age
We live in a very diverse world, so it’s imperative to teach children about other cultures. 

Picture books that portray diverse characters teach children to understand these differences and serve as a window into other worlds. They help prepare children for life’s experiences. 

Introducing children to different cultures allows them to create a better understanding of people who don’t look like them and help to create a world with less discrimination. 
Below we have compiled a list of culturally diverse books by age and have reviewed a couple so you’ll have a sense of what the books entail.
Racism and Violence: Using Your Power as a Parent to Support Children Aged Two to Five
Talking to children about racism can be very difficult but it is so important. Which is why we are excited to share that CNN and Sesame Street are partnering to host a Town Hall for Kids & Families to address the issues of racism and empathy.

"The 60-minute special "Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism. A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Families" will air on Saturday, June 6, at 10 a.m. ET [9 a.m. CST].

The show will talk to kids about racism, the recent nationwide protests, embracing diversity and being more empathetic and understanding

Racism and Violence: Using Your Power as a Parent to Support Children Aged Two to Five

This resource provides thoughts and guidelines for talking about the complex issues of racism and equality in age-appropriate ways with children aged two to five years of age.
Television and radio news, social media and neighborhood conversations are sometimes dominated by violence and conflict stemming from racism. Many adults across our nation continue to try to make sense what is happening in our world today, and parents face the added struggle of thinking through how to talk about racism and violence with children. These stories, and adults’ reactions to them, are being seen and felt by children, including babies and toddlers. While we hope that they don’t know what’s going on, even young babies pick up on and react to the emotions of those they depend on.

Ways to Engage Right Now – Each One Counts

If you’re wondering what steps to take, here are some things that can help.
Listen. Learn. Give. Center.
Listen to communities of color. Understanding what Black, Brown, or Indigenous people need to thrive is crucial right now.
  • Please don’t assume.
  • Ask. Ask them right now what they need from you.
  • Listen. Listen to what your community members say.
  • Trust. Trust what they say is what they need right now.

How Can We Help Child Care Programs?
If you are a director and/or owner of a child care program, please share with us how your program has been affected by completing this survey. Your response will assist us in identifying how we may support child care programs in our community.

Fill out the survey below to let us know how we can help you.
Census 2020
If you forgot to count your baby in your 2020 Census response, you can add them now—just visit and resubmit your answers, making sure to count everyone living at your address on April 1, 2020.
Family Activities
Say Yes to the Mess!
El juego con piedras. ¡A ensuciarse las manos!
Children are natural explorers and discoverers, which drives them to follow the path of curiosity and investigation. In doing so, they obtain an imaginative way of observing things around them! Playing with rocks is fun and engaging while developing fine and gross motor skills.

Los niños son exploradores y descubridores naturales, lo que los impulsa a seguir el camino de la curiosidad y la investigación. Al hacerlo, obtienen una forma imaginativa de observar las cosas a su alrededor. Jugar con piedras es divertido e interesante mientras se desarrollan habilidades motoras finas y gruesas.