Our United Voice

Can We Unite and do What’s Best for our Kids, our Communities, and our Country?

Friday, December 13, 2013

By Joe Tolan
Can we find issues of paramount importance for a vital future that we can put partisanship aside for?  Oklahoma has!

Recently the New York Times published a powerful story - “ Oklahoma! Where the Kids Learn Early” -  that clearly demonstrates the results we can achieve in early education when we help ensure that all children enter kindergarten ready to learn.

By providing every 4 year old in the state with free access to a year of high-quality prekindergarten, along with even younger children from disadvantaged homes access to nursery school and parent coaching, the success of Oklahoma’s program is described as a huge jump start for their kids and, by helping break the cycle of poverty, an investment not only in their kids but in their future. In fact, it’s estimated the gains are so significant that the benefits will outweigh the costs by at least a ratio of 3 to 1.
Kindergarten readiness, on-time high school graduation and parents and caregivers with the skills to help their children succeed are at the heart of Metro United Way’s focus in our Greater Louisville community; we know that studies show quality education leads to better income and a healthier life – and that these are the building blocks of a good quality of life. And our efforts in challenged Louisville neighborhoods like California, Parkland, Russell and Portland, where more than 80% of children live in poverty and roughly 4 out of 5 preschoolers arrive at kindergarten behind by a year or more and may never catch up,  demonstrates that kindergarten readiness and quality out-of-school time programming can in fact help change the odds for these children. Learn more about our Excellence Academy early learning centers here.

I urge all of us to support early childhood education programs – our future depends on it.

Joe Tolan Signautre
Joe Tolan

Joe Tolan is the President and CEO of Metro United Way. A  native of New York City, Joe pursued a career in social work and earned his  masters degree in Social Work from Loyola University. He’s been with Metro United Way since the mid-80’s where he served in several positions, including Chief Operating Officer, prior to assuming his current role as president and CEO. 

Joe has served on numerous boards and community task forces throughout Louisville. Currently, he serves on the boards of The Housing Partnership, The WLKY Bell Awards Foundation, the West Louisville Economic Advisory Board and more.  Joe is married to Terry and is the proud father of three daughters

Joe can be reached at Joseph.Tolan@MetroUnitedWay.org

1 comment

  1. A great blog to start the year with Joe! The future is indeed bright for the young children in our community as we continue our work to "help change the odds". Happy new year!


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