Our United Voice

1 Zip Code. 17 New Libraries.

Monday, December 22, 2014

 Mary Grissom
Director of Engagement Initiatives

      I'm honored to be part of and a recent graduate of Leadership Louisville Center’s Bingham Fellows program that chose "investing in West Louisville's path to prosperity" as its focus for 2014.  Because of my role at Metro United Way, I'm especially passionate about this because a huge part of this work is a project called "Early Education 40210."

The 40210 zip code, which includes the neighborhoods of Algonquin, California and Park Hill, has one of the lowest rates of kindergarten readiness in our community with only 35% of kids screened as ready for school this past year. And we know that children who start behind, tend to stay behind - leading to significant achievement gaps and challenges in graduating high school on time.

In partnership with Metro United Way, Jefferson County Public Schools and the Louisville Free Public Library, Early Education 40210 focuses on parent engagement in child development, early literacy, and quality early education and childcare settings. 

This I Believe

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

President & CEO
We hear a lot about the magic of BELIEVING during the holidays, and my message to you for the season reflects that.

At Metro United Way, we believe everyone can achieve their fullest potential through education, financial stability and healthy lives. And that success in life starts with a quality education so that kids are ready before they even set foot in a classroom. Sadly today, 47% of children in our community are behind when they enter kindergarten.

6 Words. 1 Journey.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Robin Schotter 
Early Childhood Specialist, 4-C
When your goal is to foster a community of learners, that goal is never completed. Metro United Way and Community Coordinated Child Care (4-C) have been partnering to prepare kids for kindergarten through their Excellence Academy for almost five years.

Throughout this journey, there has always been something new to explore, a new way to look at something, and something new contributed from each of the mentors, administrators, directors, teachers and children. We want a program that is responsive to those involved and embraces change. It starts now and never ends.

Engaging in dialogue about how children and adults learn means sharing knowledge back and forth. It means being vulnerable, trying new things, talking about and reflecting on success and failures. It’s a culture that we have to create.

It Takes a Journey to Appreciate Home

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Janet L. Boyd
Senior Grants Manager

Candide, a character created by the French writer Voltaire, had to travel around the world in order to discover that true happiness was to be found in his own back garden. I only had to travel as far as Nashville to be reminded that Metro United Way – right here in Kentuckiana’s own back garden – is a place where happiness begins.

While attending the Tennessee Humanities Council’s Southern Festival of Books in early October, I had the good fortune to hear Nicholas Kristof speak. Kristof, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with the New York Times who has used his talent and prominent position to help make the world a better place, was there promoting the book he and Sheryl WuDunn have just published. In A Path Appears:Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunities, the authors help people who want to make a difference figure out how to navigate myriad opportunities and take risks that might pay off in ways they never imagined.

What Would YOU Say to a Kid Who Wants to Drop Out of School?

Monday, September 29, 2014

By Melody Murphy

Recently, I came across an excellent blog post for teachers entitled, 6 Things to Say to Kids at Risk of Dropping Out. It presents responses to students that teachers can use to help guide a student back on the path towards high school graduation. According to this post, some of the typical statements students make when considering dropping out are:

1. "I'm suspended for a week, so I guess it's my vacation."
2. "I don't fit in here anyway."
3. "I didn't make it in today."
4. "I'm failing three classes. This is BS."
5. "My life is too crazy right now."
6. "I just can't be here anymore."

The suggested replies are wonderful and I know there are many great teachers who are faced with these situations every school year.

It got me thinking, though, especially with September being Attendance Awareness Month, what would I say to a child who told me he or she no longer wanted to go to school? What would you say? 

13 Pictures That Will Inspire You to Read to a Child

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Need another inspiring reason to read to a child?

We encouraged folks to support International Literacy Day yesterday by posting a #LiteracySelfie; here's our best so far!

 The "Grumps" reading a BIG book with Roman!

Imagination Will Get You Everywhere

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Latara Appleby
Marketing Brand Assistant

Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.” Well, I’m not sure my mom knew that when she was reading my bedtime stories growing up, but she definitely followed through on it.

Some of my childhood favorites were Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood. Never one to corner myself in one genre, I also had a particular fondness for Strega Nona and The Velveteen Rabbit.

7 Every Day Ways to Help Kids LOVE to Read

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

By Katy Miller
Because reading likely comes second nature to you as an adult, you may not realize that opportunities to help your child love reading are all around you every day.

1 - Let’s start with somewhere you go every week – the grocery store. Plan your meals for the week and make a list of everything you need. Hand the list to your child and ask them to read off the items to you.

She can also mark the items off as you put them in the cart. Also try letting her pick products off the shelf by reading the packages. (Hint: our daughter also likes to use math by sitting in the cart, sorting what we are buying and giving us a count of each type of item.)

Happy Birthday Who?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

By Kelly Garvey
Director, Tocqueville Society
July 29th marks the 209th anniversary of the birth of Alexis de Tocqueville, a man who was described in his day as a writer, scholar, and diplomat. Today, we find a wide range of labels (from sensible to dramatic) attached to his name, such as:  visionary, champion, and prophet.

At Metro United Way, his name and legacy are honored through the United Way Tocqueville Society, which was founded over 30 years ago to deepen the connection and support of the most generous community-minded leaders. The name honors the nineteenth-century Frenchman and his admiration for the spirit of volunteering for the common good.

12 Pics that Scream "SUMMER IS AWESOME!"

Thursday, July 17, 2014

We asked our staff to submit their best summer photos to us. Here they are and they are FANTASTIC!

 Mmmmm. Watermelon is so good. So says Patty's son, George. We love to see kids eating healthy!

How to Banish "I'M BORED" this Summer

Monday, June 30, 2014

Those two words that parents and caregivers hate to hear from kids.


Most kids count down the last few weeks, days and even hours of school for that awesomeness of summer break. But just a few days in, it starts.


How about sharing this new meaning of the word "BORED" with your child?
Let's make a deal that every time we hear a child say this, we'll ask these questions!

And, if you need camp or program ideas for the kids while they are out-of-school this summer, simply text GETCONNECTED to 96714. Enter your zip code and your child's age and options will be sent to you! A lot of these activities, camps and programs are low cost or free!

And lastly, from our friends at the Kentucky Governor's Office of Early Childhood, here are some easy ways to engage your children this summer, including alphabet hopscotch, an obstacle course and online resources.

Kids can lose up to two months' worth of math and reading skills in the summer, so let's keep them learning while school is out!

How do you help your child avoid summer boredom?

Kindergarten or Bust!

Monday, June 16, 2014

By Breck Thomas-Ross
Choices - they can overwhelm any parent, especially me.  Whether it was selecting the right car seat or crib, I’ve been overwhelmed with parenting choices.  Is this one safe enough?  That one has better ratings. But this one is really cute!  As my daughter got older, the choices changed.  Where should she go to preschool?  How many days should she go?  Half-day or full-day?  Now that we’re approaching kindergarten, I don’t have a choice – I have to get her ready. That’ll be easy, right?

Girls CAN Be Good At Math - Don't Buy Into the Falsehood

Monday, June 2, 2014

By Janet L. Boyd
My granddaughter, Stella Rose, is a better conversationalist than just about any adult I know. Our discussions range from pop music to yoga to whether boogers would taste salty or sweet. At age 7, she considers herself an expert on many things: the value of pink cowgirl boots, the poems of Roald Dahl, Double Gloucester cheese, building fairy houses at Hogan’s Fountain, music by Loretta Lynn and Nancy Sinatra, purses, the movie Annie, and how to steer Canterbury the horse around a barn cat instead of running right over it.  She can talk a blue streak about any of these topics.

Here’s another thing Stella Rose is an expert at – math! During a recent overnight visit with me, she spent the last few minutes before falling asleep figuring the 12 times table in her head. She can add a column of figures faster than I can. She excels at division in first grade. All on her own, she figured out that the sum of the first two digits of her dad’s phone number equals digits three and four, and the sum of digits five and six equals digit seven.

But, sadly, by the time Stella Rose goes to middle school, she may stop believing in herself as an expert in math.


Monday, May 19, 2014

By Karen Napier
Last week I attended the United Way Worldwide Community Leaders Conference in Washington, DC.  The event was filled with presentations and sessions on how we as a community can work together to create community-wide change in education, income and health. The event was truly an inspiring culmination of ideas and passion.

At the closing session all 1,500 of the participants received a special message from Wes Moore, a youth advocate, Army combat veteran, social entrepreneur and host of Beyond Belief on the Oprah Winfrey Network. And now author of his first book The Other Wes Moore.

Wes’ message was simple and clear:  WE ARE A PRODUCT OF OUR OPPORTUNITIES.

5 Easy Ways To Get Your Child Excited About Reading

Monday, May 5, 2014

By Katy Miller
Creating a culture of literacy in your home may seem like a heavy venture. In reality, however, it’s very simple and doesn’t require a tremendous monetary investment. It only requires time, commitment and attention, all of which are free.

In our house, we believe that learning is not confined to a certain time of day or setting. It’s not about passing any kind of test or measuring our child against other children. It’s about being committed to forming a productive and happy adult who will serve the world in a positive, thoughtful and memorable way.

4 Power Skills Kids Need to Succeed and Employers Want

Monday, April 21, 2014

By TJ Delahanty
An Out-of-School Time (OST) program is any program that offers enrichment activities to school-age youth during hours that school is not in session. And OST Programs are recognized as playing an important role in the ultimate success of our children.

Schools are aware that they cannot lay a strong foundation for academic achievement alone. Parents in our community who work know what a key role affordable, safe and supportive alternatives for school-age children play. And community leaders appreciate that many children need much more than just a safe place to “get them off the streets.”

But how exactly do OST programs instill skills in our youth?

What Children Need The Most In Order To Learn Isn't Always In The Classroom

Monday, April 7, 2014

By Kimberly Broecker
Learning is far more than just reading, writing and arithmetic. Education is about the whole child and the whole family. Learning truly begins on the most basic of levels.

After all, a child who is hungry won't be able to concentrate in class. A child who lacks a coat isn't able to play on the playground during cold months and unable to learn needed social skills gained from playing with other kids. Any parent or grandparent who is overwhelmed won't be able to provide the stability that is needed for a child to learn. And a single working mother can't always afford to take precious time off from work to see to the physical needs of her child.  

I Didn’t Realize Third Grade Was So Important

Monday, March 17, 2014

By Melody Murphy
Read with your child for 20 minutes every night.

That’s been the mantra of my kids’ teachers since my oldest (who is now a junior at Ballard High School) was in kindergarten.  I never really thought much of it because I began reading to my children when they were babies, so doing this was not a huge deal.  Although, I admit, I sometimes felt that a teacher REQUIRING this on top of nightly homework was a bit much to ask.

Until now.

What breaks YOUR heart? What makes YOU angry?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Janet Masteron Photo
By Janet Masterson
Nearly 16 years ago, I was given a challenge. Actually, it was more of a directive. I was asked to be Community Coordinated Child Care's (also known as 4-C) point person on public policy. Effective immediately.

At the time, I considered myself to be somewhat of an early childhood expert, but the thought of participating in politics sent chills up my spine. Nevertheless, I do not scare easily, so I said, "challenge accepted."

An Extra 300 Bucks Can Make a Big Difference for Some This Tax Season

Monday, February 24, 2014

John Nevitt Photo
By John Nevitt
Can you believe we're only 50 days from that annual deadline to file state and federal taxes? This time of year, money seems to be on everyone's mind and every penny can count.

For many hard working families, $300 can be the difference between being in crisis and managing a minor emergency. All of us have been there at some point or another; the furnace goes on the fritz, the car needs new brakes, your son falls off his skateboard and requires stitches. Life happens!

For families living from paycheck to paycheck, having a cushion that's as small as $300 can make a big difference. That’s why for the last few years, Metro United Way has partnered with organizations across the state to enact a state Earned Income Credit (EIC). In short, the Kentucky EIC is a tax credit modeled after a similar federal credit that would help low-to-moderate income families make ends meet.

Staying Healthy and Getting Smart with “FamilyWize”

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jan Sherrell Photo
By Jan Sherrell
Our vision at Metro United Way is a community whose people achieve their fullest potential through education, financial stability and healthy lives – the building blocks of a good quality of life. Without access to quality healthcare, individuals are unable to thrive and this affects our overall community health.

That’s why I’m excited that Metro United Way is participating with FamilyWize, a program that offers free prescription drug discount cards, in a partnership approved by United Way Worldwide.

11 Things You Didn’t Know About 2-1-1

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

By Glen Powell
Today is a special day at Metro United Way. Every year, on February 11th (2/11), we celebrate 2-1-1 Day! It's an opportunity for us to reflect on all of the good things that Metro United Way's 2-1-1 service does to help people in our community.

2-1-1 connects people with resources to help them face life challenges, often for the first time, to the appropriate service provider. This easy to remember phone number saves time and frustration by eliminating the need to navigate a maze of agencies and help-lines.

You may know that one call to 2-1-1 connects people with the help they need, when they need it. But here are 11 things that you may NOT know about 2-1-1:

Early Childhood Education - The Rest of The Story!

Friday, February 7, 2014

By Joe Tolan
Last Thursday, Business First published an article entitled "The Point of Preschool."  First, I want to applaud Business First for speaking about this national issue that affects our community's children and our future. As you may know, I have a personal passion to help change the odds. And Metro United Way is doing just that through programs such as our Excellence Academy early learning centers.

Healthy Smiles, Healthy Lives

Friday, January 31, 2014

Sometimes I feel like oral health is the Rodney Dangerfield of health care!   Rodney was an American comedian and actor, known for the catchphrase "I don't get no respect!" Did you know that more than 10 years ago, the U.S. Surgeon General called oral health disease a “silent epidemic”?

Because I Said I Would

Monday, January 13, 2014

Mary Grissom Photo
By Mary Grissom
Here’s an embarrassing confession:  Those of us who make our living inspiring others to take action – sometimes fail at our own civic participation. 

As Director of Engagement at Metro United Way, I have the privilege of asking others to give, advocate, and volunteer to make long lasting change in our community.  And on occasion, I fall short of fulfilling my own commitments. But in this fresh New Year, I am starting off right.