Author: Rachel Weiner

We’re expanding our STEM programming!

We’re excited to share that thanks to the Freescale Foundation, our Target Graduation program will grow the quality of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in Austin. Nearly 150 students will benefit from Out-of-School Time programs that are safer, more supportive and more engaging for youth as a result of Freescale’s investment. Thanks to UWATX Investments in STEM: 115 Children will gain basic skills in math and literacy 200 Families will prepare their children for school using technology 150 Students will benefit from higher quality after school & summer STEM programs STEM programs teach students the foundational knowledge and skills that are critical for careers in engineering and technology.  However, research shows only programs that provide high-quality instruction paired with youth engagement and focused learning activities lead to improved academic outcomes for students, while programs that do not exhibit these traits show no effect on school performance. Unfortunately, without metrics for quality or training for staff, organizations are struggling to know whether or not their STEM programs are setting students up for school success. Thanks to this new grant, we will partner with five select STEM-focused nonprofit programs to provide instructors with training, assessment tools tailored for  STEM quality and coaching to implement research-based techniques. We will  implement the Center For Youth Program Quality model, which is used by after-school networks in 27 states and has been shown to improve program quality, increase staff retention and generate lasting improvements for programs that still remain a year after the intervention. This new effort will expand on […]

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Our AmeriCorps VISTAs impacted 1K+ lives in 1 year!

This month, we said goodbye to Hannah Berle and Tyler O’Neill as they closed their year as Americorps VISTA members supporting Success By 6 (SB6), which focuses on our youngest and most vulnerable community members. The mission of Americorps VISTA members is to create and expand programs that bring low-income individuals and communities out of poverty. In 2013, Tyler and Hannah did just that by managing and leading several key initiatives. Their VISTA service connected them to more than 800 community leaders, volunteers and social service providers in the Austin area – and we’re so thankful for their incredible work. “Being an AmeriCorps VISTA at United Way has given me the opportunity to work with and learn from experts. I see the impact of United Way every day, large or small, behind the scenes or directly, and it is incredible.” –Hannah Hannah was responsible for providing support to early education centers serving low-income children in Austin. Through designing and implementing trainings to connect teachers to high-quality curricula to support their classrooms, Hannah helped ensure that nine early education centers had teachers trained to use Numbers Plus Preschool Math Curriculum. This curriculum, developed by HighScope Educational Research Foundation, is a comprehensive set of activities in English and Spanish designed to deliver developmentally appropriate content in five areas: Number Sense and Operations, Geometry, Measurement, Algebra, and Data Analysis. These activities help set the stage for later mathematical concepts. SB6 is dedicated to lasting academic gains for young children and Hannah’s diligent coordination […]

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Invest in Austin – how giving makes Austin greater

Today, we’re kicking off Amplify Austin, a new giving event to increase philanthropy. Over 300 Central Texas nonprofits have joined together in this effort to raise $1 million in 24 hours. It’s an ambitious goal and I’m grateful that United Way for Greater Austin is participating in this initiative to help Austinites experience the reward of philanthropy. Amplify Austin is an opportunity to introduce a lot of new individuals to giving that hadn’t previously considered themselves philanthropists. Since 1924, UWATX has been providing our community with this opportunity everyday. We do this because we believe that everyone has the capacity to give and we know it’s going to take every one of us together to make Austin greater and help families break the cycle of poverty. We believe Austin can be greater and we know it will take a lot. So we ask for your hands, your hearts, and your dollars. An issue like poverty takes a system of support. At UWATX, while we as staff members don’t always get the satisfaction of holding a child while she holds her first book or shaking the hand of someone who just got the healthcare they need, we do get the satisfaction of knowing that we’re creating a system where a friend, family member, service provider or neighbor gets to do just that. And not just one neighbor, but thousands of them. This work takes UWATX and the community working together as a united front. It also takes a lot of passion, […]

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