Category: Success By 6

Success By 6 Coalition Launches 2019-2023 “Success By 6” Strategic Plan

Every day, an average of 38 babies are born in the Austin area. The Success By 6 (SX6) Coalition is working to ensure that each of these 38 brand-new Texans has an equal opportunity to thrive. SX6 is a coalition of child and family advocates – providers, parents, policymakers, civic leaders, philanthropists, business leaders, and early childhood experts – working together on a community plan that reflects our collective wisdom and amplifies our collective voice.   “Success By 6 has child development at the heart of its mission,” Dr. Jennifer Duc, Assistant Clinical Professor, UT-Austin Pediatric Residency Program and Outpatient Pediatrician, CommUnityCare said. “Success By 6 knows that nurtured children and supported families create the foundation for strong, healthy, and successful communities.”     On Wednesday, April 24, 2019, the SX6 Coalition launched the next iteration of our community’s strategic plan and lay out their strategies and goals for the next 2,000 days. From 7:15 – 9 a.m. civic leaders, including Mayor Steve Adler, Judge Sarah Eckhardt, Council Member Kathie Tovo, early childhood education experts, policymakers and more gathered to celebrate the hard work and collaboration that went into creating the plan. Attendees heard a keynote from The University of Texas System Chancellor James B. Milliken over breakfast at the University of Texas Club.   Why a 2,000-day journey? Because research has proven that the first five years of a child’s life strongly influence the rest. Ninety percent of brain development happens within the 2,000 days from birth to Kindergarten, […]

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Where Hope Takes Root

More than 70,000 children in Central Texas live in poverty and face challenges that stand in the way of learning, like hunger, trauma, homelessness, poverty and poor health. Without community support, they are more at risk for missing school, dropping out and failing to earn a high school diploma. Community In Schools (CIS) sees potential in every student, and they are committed to helping students believe in their own ability to achieve.   CIS are experts at bringing communities together for students. They collaborate with school districts and schools, deliver resources, work with local businesses, social service agencies, healthcare providers and volunteers to support students and families in overcoming obstacles and roadblocks to success. Thanks to this collaborative network, our community is a better place for students in need. United Way for Greater Austin is proud to fund the ASPIRE program run by CIS, and we are thrilled to see the convening of different entities committed to creating bright futures for all our neighbors.   ASPIRE (Achieving Success through Parental Involvement, Reading and Education) breaks the cycle of illiteracy and poverty within families by providing comprehensive, integrated literacy services for the entire family. This dual-generation (or 2-Gen) program brings parents and children together for educational success. School Readiness is the result of a process that starts at birth and relies on the home environment and parental involvement to help them achieve Success by 6. ASPIRE serves families with children that are living in poverty in Travis County. Parents experiencing poverty face […]

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Any Baby Can – And It Takes A Village

Parenting is hard (said every new parent, ever). It can be hard in the absolute best of circumstances.  There are creeping doubts, fears and obstacles that you could never imagine until you are faced with them. All parents harbor concern about their children’s futures. The Any Baby Can staff also know that parenting is even harder without the things that many of us take for granted: resources for our children, access to information and education, heating in cold months, stable housing, and food on the table every night. That is why they are proudly committed to their mission of Strengthening Families so Children Succeed. With a 40–year history in Central Texas, Any Baby Can is a go-to resource for parents and families with unique challenges. From first-time parents, families whose children have developmental or medical needs, Any Baby Can is there to support parents and help them overcome obstacles to set their family up for success. They guide parents in building confidence, nurturing relationships, and planning for the future so their children—and the entire family—can reach their full potential. Throughout Any Baby Can’s 40 years, they have built up their wrap-around support to make success accessible for families. Caring for their client’s immediate needs is of utmost importance as they ensure families have the resources, time and skills they need to succeed. Through caring for the community, Any Baby Can establishes strong relationships with clients, providing a truly stable force in their lives. The wraparound services offered by Any Baby […]

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Commentary: It’s time to address the broken child care system in Texas

Texas children deserve better. It is likely you picked up the paper this week and it broke your heart. The stories of parents who lost their children are devastating, and we are thankful to the Austin American-Statesman for taking an in-depth look into an issue of such importance to young children and working families in our community. The first five years of a child’s life are a critical period when 90 percent of all brain development occurs. What happens in these early years has a lasting impact from kindergarten readiness to high school graduation and beyond. For working parents, finding the right care for their children can be among the most difficult—and expensive—parenting decisions they face. The American-Statesman rightly questions who is “watching” our children. But licensing oversight is just one piece of a complex system that is fragile, fragmented and chronically underfunded at the state and federal level. Every child in Austin deserves access to high-quality, accredited early care and education. And every working parent deserves confidence in knowing their children are in a safe, nurturing environment while they work to provide for their families. Accreditation requires meeting standards well above basic health and safety licensing rules. This high-quality care provides a warm, responsive environment led by well-educated and compensated teachers with low student-teacher ratios, evidence-based curriculum, and parent engagement. Unfortunately, low wages in the child care industry stifle educational attainment and drive high turnover among child care workers in the region. Quality child care is expensive but yields […]

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It’s Fun To Stay At The YMCA

Yes, it’s fun to stay at the YMCA, but what else do you know about this nonprofit that has its own signature dance moves? YMCA is a nation-wide nonprofit that works to build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.  Here in our own backyard YMCA of Austin (the Y) identifies and solves Central Texas’ most critical needs across three pillars: -Youth Development -Healthy Living -Social Responsibility   Here at United Way for Greater Austin, that is our favorite kind of fun! We are proud to fund YMCA in support of their Early Learning Readiness program (ELR), which is making a tangible difference in our community every single day.     YMCA of Austin is serving more than 65,000 members (and an additional 60,000 program participants) through their eight branches in Travis, Hays and Bastrop Counties. They also provide Afterschool Child Care at 16 licensed sites in three school districts, and at five YMCA Learning Centers in affordable housing developments.   In Austin, across the nation and around the world, the accomplishments of the Y over the years reveal a mission to constantly search for innovative ways to meet community needs.   We all know the Y is a great place to expend energy and build community, but many people might not know how their programmatic work impacts our at-risk community. The Community Investment Grant YMCA has received from United Way will help them bring their ESL program to 60 additional at-risk children and caregivers in East Austin and Manor, so they can […]

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Top 10 Things To Look For When Choosing Child Care

Every child in Austin deserves access to high-quality, accredited early care and education. While quality child care is expensive, it yields significant long-term benefits for children. At United Way for Greater Austin (United Way) we believe every child in Austin deserves access to high-quality accredited early care and education and every working parent deserves confidence in knowing their children are in a safe, nurturing environment while they work to provide for their families. For working parents, finding the right care can be among the most difficult – and expensive – parenting decisions they face, but United Way is here to help. We work to ensure every child is ready for kindergarten with our Success By 6 program—and an important part of that is making sure children enjoy quality care early on in life.  To help parents make sure they’re making the right choice for their child, we’ve compiled a top ten list of things to look for:    1. Accredited And Recommended References go a long way. It is notable if the center can help you check references by providing contact information for current or past enrolled families (with their prior permission, of course). It is also important to check the state licensing website for any infractions the center may have. Look to see if the program is rated 4 stars by the Texas Rising Star system, or better yet, nationally accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children or the National Accreditation Commission. 2. Warm and […]

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Community Partner Spotlight: Child Inc.

Forging the way for families in Austin, TX since the 1960’s, Child Inc is making a real impact for families in our community.  Child Inc’s  Project Head Start was one of the first initiatives to be funded through President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty. This was an important moment for funding in the nonprofit world and helped spotlight the need to break the cycle of poverty for families across the United States. In 1972 Child IncInc was officially established as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, and has been the Head Start grantee for Travis County since then. They enhanced our strategic community focus on making quality early childhood education accessible for more low-income families. The Child Inc mission is to provide high-quality education and comprehensive support services for children and their families while promoting personal and social responsibility in the communities [they] serve. Actively Involved Living and breathing their mission for decades, Child Inc has proudly prepared approximately 40,000 preschool children and their parents to succeed in school and in life. They are currently employing a diverse workforce of more than 230 staff positioned throughout their offices, in more than 80 classrooms, serving more than 2,000 children and families. Their work follows established evidenced-based approaches to serving families in the most need. According to their website two-thirds of [the families served] in [their] center-based program has single, female head-of-households, and at least 90 percent of them live at or below the federal poverty threshold. To better serve these families, Child Inc […]

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The School Readiness Action Plan wins Mission Capital’s Aligned Impact Award

Mission Capital recognized the School Readiness Action Plan with the Aligned Impact Award. This award celebrates a cross-sector collaborative creating system-wide change with a focus on shared decision-making, execution and ownership create unique and targeted progress through collective power. School Readiness Action Plan Leadership Team The School Readiness Action Plan Leadership Team is comprised of early childhood planners and funders that focus on the City of Austin and Travis County. The committee’s primary functions are to oversee and monitor the cyclical School Readiness Action Plan process, coordinate resources across entities, generate and monitor agreements at respective entities to invest in the shared plan and align policy and funding decisions when possible. Members also meet one or more of the following specific criteria: a significant funder of early childhood programming; taxing entity; the sole designee of federal funding (i.e. Child Inc.); collect and/or provide data and analysis; and influential in policy and/or research. SRAP Leadership Team Members Community Advancement NetworkUnited Way for Greater AustinManor ISDTravis County Health & Human ServicesWorkforce SolutionsChild Inc.Austin Public HealthCity of Austin Early Childhood CouncilE3 AllianceKLRUChildren’s Optimal HealthLiteracy Coalition of Central Texas Austin Independent School DistrictAustin Community CollegeAustin Association for the Education of Young Children

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Community Partner Spotlight: Mainspring Schools

Since opening its doors in 1941, Mainspring Schools has been a best-in-class nonprofit preschool that works to eliminate the early childhood school readiness gap. Their mission is “to deliver the highest quality early education and care to Austin’s most economically disadvantaged children – along with services so each child and parent have tools for success in school and life.” With a mission like that and its dedication to providing high-quality, innovative, and researched based services to all children, Mainspring serves as a model for early childhood centers in Austin and beyond. As the backbone organization for early childhood in Austin/Travis County, United Way supports more than 20 childcare centers serving children from low-income families. Mainspring envisions a future in Austin in which all students have an equal opportunity to start school with the skills, support and wellness to compete and succeed in school and life. “We firmly believe that you have to start early to build a strong foundation for at-risk kids. If you get the first years right, the path to success is clearer for our children,” says Jason Gindele, Executive Director for Mainspring. Gindele’s says of his team that they “often say, facetiously, that [their] mission is to get rid of all other charities. That’s obviously not true, but [they] do believe that if you get the first years of a child’s life right, it can prevent so many issues down the road that require the attention of our society.” In Travis County, 42 percent of children under […]

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Community Partner Spotlight: Todos Juntos, Everyone is Family

Nestled on the East Side of Austin, Texas, Todos Juntos has been changing lives one family at a time for 10 years. Founder and Executive Director, Christina Collazo, has been a “Catalyst for Change” long before she was nominated for this year’s Mission Capital Award. Collazo began implementing a 2Gen (also known as Dual Gen) approach in her work a decade ago before it became the buzz-word it is today. She saw the value in raising families out of poverty through an intergenerational approach. Her vision took her out of the classroom, and into the non-profit sector where she has built an organization from the ground up. Amidst many hardships she faced along the way, she never balked in the face of adversity. “Christina Collazo is a pioneer who understood [the complex problem of intergenerational poverty] and saw its solution. She intuitively saw the link between outcomes for children and outcomes for their parents,” Sue Carpenter, Chief Programs Officer for United Way for Greater Austin said. “Many of the students at the predominately Latino high school in Austin where she worked were reading below grade level, and their parents, eager to engage and support their children, struggled to overcome language barriers and low-education levels themselves. For Christina, it was the stereotypical light bulb moment. If only she could reach the entire family earlier when the return on investment was so much greater and pair language and skills training for parents with high-high quality early education for their children.” Collazo’s solution […]

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