- One in five children in Minnesota is living in poverty.
- A hungry child needs a full stomach to pay attention in class, but more than 90% of students at our largest elementary schools qualify for free and reduced lunch and may not eat properly during nights and weekends.
- Children need a consistent learning environment, but over 60% of students at two local schools departed during the last school year due to financial instability.
United Way believes that supporting parents will reduce stress at home and improve children’s chances for long-term education and employment. To do so, United Way has developed Neighborhood Resource Centers at Lincoln Elementary and Discovery Community School — where Community Resource Navigators are employed to help families find employment, access affordable childcare, utilize emergency basic needs services, negotiate legal issues, resolve outstanding medical bills, and register for insurance.
- Kori Carter works at Lincoln Elementary School in Southeast St. Cloud and specializes in community engagement and parent empowerment.
- Jama Mohamed works at Discovery Community School in Waite Park and focuses on elevating community voices and creating on-site partnerships.
Both Neighborhood Resource Centers are guided by a Site Council of parents, program partners, school administrators, and teachers designed to provide ongoing feedback, assess community needs, and identify opportunities for impact.
Highlights of the first year’s partnership with the school’s include creation of:
Family Nights: More than 300 community members at Lincoln and 500 at Discovery attended each school’s first fun activity nights where parents, teachers and school staff interacted and built community!
Summer United: Partners such as GREAT Theatre, KIDSTOP, The Yes Network, Waite Park Police Department, Boy Scouts, and more came together to transform four half-day weeks of summer school at Lincoln and Discovery into eight weeks of free summer camp available all day!
The short-term goals of United Way Neighborhood Resource Centers are:
decrease school transition rates
increase parent involvement
increase student attendance
All contributing to:
student success: improved reading and math scores
We believe this community has the caring power to support families living in poverty and reduce barriers to student success so that Central Minnesota has a future that is bright, prosperous, and united.