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Trumbull United Way Launches New Focus

By Ginny Pasha, president

WARREN, Ohio – For more than 95 years, United Way of Trumbull County has worked to meet the needs of residents. Together with our community, we achieve our mission to create sustainable change by helping children and families “earn well, learn well and stay well.”

We recently unveiled a new strategic focus after more than two years of planning: United in Helping Children and Families Thrive. We are following the lead of United Way Worldwide by narrowing our funding decisions to focus on programs that help the working poor and those living in poverty.

Earn Well programs will help residents gain and keep jobs, maintain access to health care and drug prevention, and provide financial education. Learn Well will include programs to improve learning experiences, educational opportunities, and enrichment experiences for children up to grade 12. Stay Well programs will ensure basic needs are met.

In 2018, we accomplished our goals through agency impact, funding 31 local programs in conjunction with our targeted impact initiatives.

Our Reading Great By 8 Literacy Initiative has reached 74% of the schools in the county. Through a partnership with the Trumbull County Educational Partnership, we will add six more school districts in 2019.

Through the initiative’s three programs, more than 2,000 books were given to students during 2018. ABC Reading Ready aided children transitioning from kindergarten to first grade and Ready, Set, Go prepared children to read at grade level by third grade, which is a predictor of future academic success.

The third program, Read 4 Fun, places volunteers into second-grade classrooms. Last fall, we recruited active duty personnel and veterans to read and assist students in writing letters to service people and veterans.

Celebration of Dr. Seuss’ birthday March 2 is a part of our Read 4 Fun programming. In 2014, we introduced Dr. Seuss Day and today the event covers more than 100 classrooms from kindergarten to second grade. The addition of the Seuss-tastic Reading Challenge in partnership with the Eastwood Mall was added in 2018.

Now in Year Four, the Trumbull County Partnership for Financial Empowerment has put in hard work to introduce a financial fair, increase free income tax services and expand services and programs that will aid in stabilizing the finances of residents.

More than two years ago, we partnered with other nonprofits to launch a pantry in Harding High School. Success there led to the introduction of pantries in Willard, Jefferson and Lincoln PK-8 schools. Combined with the high school, there were more than 10,000 visits to the pantries last year.

As we begin 2019 on the wake of plant shutdowns, our immediate concern is for those who have lost or will soon lose their jobs. Many General Motors employees are longtime supporters of United Way, other local nonprofits and churches.

Now, they may be in a position to need access to those services. Those services will be there because of the generosity of people who support our United Way.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.