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Month of the Learning Child

As we start to make our way into summer it seems as if school is the last thing on people's minds. For May, the United Way of Pennsylvania wanted to focus on the learning child. Recent research confirms that the first five years are particularly important for the development of the child's brain, since 90% of a child's brain is developed by age five. The first three years are the most critical in shaping the child's brain architecture. Early experiences provide the base for the brain's organizational development and functioning throughout life. They have a direct impact on how children learning skills and retain information as well develop social and emotional skills and abilities.

Pre-K Spotight:
United Way of Lancaster County

United Way of Lancaster County (UWLANC) has established a Bold Goal for our community that 100% of children will enter kindergarten ready to learn. Years of longitudinal research show us that children who attend high quality early care and education are likely to achieve that kindergarten readiness milestone and leverage that success for years to come. Increasing access to state-funded quality Pre-K is a critical component to our overall school readiness goal.

Through funding Collective Impact Partnerships focused on school readiness, UWLANC is engaging cross-sector partnerships across Lancaster County to systematically tackle this complex social problem. Examples include SAIL (Systems Aligned in Learning), which is working to increase the quality of home-based childcare providers through a mobile support system that encompasses health, nutrition, social-emotional skills, literacy, curriculum, and professional mentorship; and Plant the Seed of Learning which brings together school district teachers, early childhood educators, and maternal health practitioners to teach and engage parents of children ages birth to two through recurrent workshops supporting healthy brain development through meaningful play.

On March 27, the Pre-K for Campaign held a community roundtable at a UWLANC Collective Impact Partnership's community center. The Together Initiative Network (TIN) uses United Way funding to offer person-centered strategies and a breadth of health, social, and educational services, including high quality Pre-K, to empower individuals and families struggling with poverty in eastern Lancaster County. The Pre-K for Pa event was a wonderful way for stakeholders to thank Rep. Bryan Cutler for his support of the governor's 2017-18 budget which allowed an additional 45 children to be served in Pre-K Counts and Head Start programs in the Pequea Valley School District (PVSD) area.

This gathering of more than 35 stakeholders, which included Congressman Lloyd Smucker, District Attorney Craig Stedman, and PVSD superintendent Erik Orndorff, was also the perfect opportunity to highlight the innovative ways in which this UWLANC Collective Impact Partnership has leveraged local, state and federal early childhood funding to wrap holistic supports around children and their families. Examples include Head Start home visitors implementing the evidenced-based Parents as Teachers (PAT) curriculum with Head Start parents, PVSD creating an early literacy home-visiting liaison position (whose salary is paid for by a local faith-based congregation) who can triage parents to the PAT program (newly housed within TIN's community center), and directing UWLANC grant dollars to create a high-quality Pre-K classroom complementing existing Pre-K counts and head start classrooms (removing 20 children off the waiting list). 

United Way of Lancaster County and their Collective Impact Partnerships, like the Together Initiative Network, understand that early childhood initiatives, like high quality Pre-K, are an essential to piece of a healthy community. Intentional and creative collaboration make this work meaningful, contextual, effective, and sustainable.

Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way "Every Baby Needs a Lap Top"

Every Baby Needs a Lap Top does not mean every baby needs a personal computer, rather that every baby benefits from one-on-one personal time and interactions with their parents as their first and greatest teacher. GSVUW partnered with Evangelical Community Hospital to create free, open classes to expectant parents or guardians in Northumberland, Snyder, and Union Counties.

Every Baby Needs A Lap Top was created to address the need to educate new parents and caregivers to the vital importance of reading, singing and talking to their babies since education of parents to the importance of early childhood education was lacking. Over the last 3 years, the class has evolved to the point to where it is now, which includes stressing the importance of reading, singing and talking to babies and the effects this has on brain development.  The class touches on blooming and pruning and how repetition and routine strengthens neural connections in the brain. It also speaks to screen time and its effects as well as parentese versus baby talk, demonstrating reading strategies and modeling ways to use song and play to encourage growth, while stressing how environment and experiences shape a baby's brain.  The class stresses that 90% of brain development occurs within the first 5 years of life and how parents are their baby's first and most important teacher.

Join other parents as they explore how talking, singing, and reading to your baby helps them grow, learn, and thrive. Registration is required as sessions are led by childcare professional Lynn Fiedler.

For more information, visit .

PA United Ways in the News 

UWSWPA hosts Build-A-Bike Event to Get Kids Proud and Moving

Schuylkill County United Way Gains New Community Partner

United Way of Lancaster County is Stamping Out Hunger

Huntingdon County United Way Accepting Mini Grant Applications

United Way of Adam County Holding Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive

Greater Susquehanna Valley Hosts Day(s) of Action

United Way of York Co. Takes Part in Give Local York 24 Hour Event

United Way of Wyoming Valley Invests in Wyoming Valley Montessori

UWGLV Campaign Reaches New Levels

United Way of Bradford Area Receives Community & Spirit Award

United Way of Western Crawford County Honored By Salvation Army

Lackawanna & Wayne Counties Hold Annual Community Celebration

United Way of Monroe County Honors Partners

Bucks County's Vidoni Receives Rotary Award

United Way of Wyoming Valley Receives Federal Fund for Shelter

United Way of the Bradford Area Participates in Kids Fest

Centre County United Way Raising Readers

Anne Druck to Join United Way of York County as ED and CEO

United Way of the Titusville Region Honors Their Volunteers

United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County Host Glee Competition

Titusville United Way names Volkstadt winner

United Way of Lawrence County hosts annual celebration dinner

United Way of Monroe County recognizes volunteers

United Way of Erie County hires teacher as education director

Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way gets new space

United Way of Chester County kicks off pb&j drive

United Way of Adams County works with NALC to stamp out hunger
UWP 2018 Board Meetings 
June 20
September 19
December 12

UWP Annual Statewide Conference 
June 20-22, 2018 

Check Out What Your Local United Way has Going On
United Way of Pennsylvania (UWP) is a state association representing our 48 member United Ways and United Funds across the Commonwealth. 

UWP's mission is to assist and champion the efforts of local United Ways in advancing the common good

Primarily UWP's work consists of government relations work on the policy issues affecting PA's communities in the areas of health, education, and financial stability.  In addition, UWP works with our local United Way members to support their efforts and offer support to their mission.  

Visit United Way of Pennsylvania's website
to learn more about how local United Ways are working to advance the common good

For any inquiries please contact us

Pre-K at the Pocono Raceway

The race for Governor of Pennsylvania is speeding up, and we are launching a Pocono Raceway giveaway. Pre-K for PA, in partnership with Pocono Raceway, will be giving away two sets of four (4) tickets in the 200 level to the Sunday, June 3rd race! Enter  here for your chance to win!

We are also turning the corner and are in the final few laps of the PA race for governor. As the candidates speed towards the midpoint of the race, most have taken the time to assert their positions on access to high-quality pre-k and child care as part of a candidate survey. 

The candidate survey offers Pennsylvanians the opportunity to learn where gubernatorial candidates stand on a variety of issues related to education, health, financial stability and the nonprofit sector. Please take a moment to visit the our  survey results on education to learn where each candidate stands on access to high-quality pre-k.

"We encourage voters to reveiw each candidate's positions on vital issues facing the health and well-being of the commonwealth, including pre-k access, and to make an informed vote on May 15th," stated Kristen Rotz, President of United Way of Pennsylvania. 

The full survey results are available on the UWP public website on the  2018 Gubernatorial Candidates on the Issues link. The full set of responses has been posted for each candidate. The responses are available in two formats: sorted by issue area, or sorted by candidate.

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