United Way — Live United
There is a national “Promise Neighborhoods” movement to develop of a continuum of “cradle through college and career” solutions to improve the educational and developmental outcomes of children living in our most distressed neighorhoods. Based on Geoffrey Canada’s ground-breaking Harlem Children’s Zone (www.hcz.org), Promise Neighborhoods may, in fact, be the key to releasing thousands of children from the life-long effects of poverty.
In Lane County, two Promise Neighborhoods have been identified. One is in Springfield and one in Eugene's Bethel area. We know that 82% of children entering kindergarten in these neighborhoods do not meet the early literacy benchmark, as compared to 56% across Lane County.
If we can improve the early childhood development of children in our Promise Neighborhoods, we will move the needle on school readiness across the county. We will also be able to scale up effective practices to other neighborhoods in our community.
Our vision is to develop a full continuum of supports for children, prenatally through emerging adulthood, in families, schools and neighborhoods. This requires the support of a broad range of community partners: education, business, social service, health, government, faith, and many more.
The two Lane County Promise Neighborhoods are incubators for the development and piloting of innovative programs for the identification of effective programs to scale up to other neighborhoods or county-wide.
Fall 2010 Early Literacy Baseline Data:
56% of children entering kindergarten in Lane County did not meet the early literacy benchmark, with 30% at risk for not being able to learn to read by third grade. In the Promise Neighborhoods, 82% of children entering kindergarten did not meet the early literacy benchmark and 51% were at high risk for reading failure.
Fall 2011 Early Literacy Baseline Data:
54% of children entering kindergarten in Lane County did not meet the early literacy benchmark, with 27% at risk for not being able to learn to read by third grade. In the Promise Neighborhoods, 81% of children entering kindergarten did not meet the early literacy benchmark and 43% were at high risk for reading failure.
Data collected in 2011 shows an 8% reduction in the percentage of children at high risk for reading failure in the neighborhoods.
Projects in the Promise Neighborhoods include:
Baby University:offers parents weekly drop-in parenting education and support at Bethel Community Church. Activities and services offered include: lactation and nutrition information, baby weighing, scrapbooking, “Ask A Parent Educator,” and other family activities.
Community Child Care Networks:six childcare providers in each neighborhood receive technical assistance and supports to increase the quality of their physical environments and early learning curricula including mental health consultations.
Summer Reading Spots: United Way of Lane County developed a project to match volunteer readers with children participating in Food For Lane County’s Summer Lunch program in two parks in the Promise Neighborhoods. In the ten-week 2011 program, there were over 1,200 visits, with each visiting child receiving a donated book, and over 200 volunteer hours were logged.
Kids In Transition to School(KITS): KITS is a brief program provided by Oregon Social Learning Center, 8 weeks prior to kindergarten entry and 8 weeks into the school year that helps children and their families transition to school. Children learn important early literacy and social skills in a classroom setting and parents learn how to support their child’s education.
Neighborhood Door-to-Door: each spring, volunteers go door-to-door in the Promise Neighborhoods to let neighbors know about enrollment into the KITS program at Kindergarten Orientation, as well as other summer activities, services and programs for families which helped double attendance numbers.
Data Collection: Success By 6® collects early literacy and social emotional data from the schools annually. Success By 6® also performs regular Parent Surveys to assess norms, attitudes and needs.
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