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 […]Read More
The Austin Summer Survival Guide, and Not the One You Would Think…
This is not your average summer survival guide. I am not here to talk about Float Fest or Amy’s Ice Cream. While both are great summer staples, the purpose of this survival guide is to provide our community with a list of resources that will make sure everyone gets the best out of their summer vacation. Remember that you can call 2-1-1 24/7 for community information and resources. Connect with a compassionate call specialist, like Arnoldo who has been on staff for more than six years. “2-1-1 is the most effective way of getting resources out into the community.” Arnoldo, 2-1-1 Call Specialist said. “It is a gathering of many people, many facets, that create one big jewel.” STAY FED From breakfast to lunch to after-school snack, many kids in Austin rely on school meal programs. Often times the meals they are fed at school, are the only thing they will eat all day. According to Feeding America and the Community Advancement Network Dashboard for Travis County, 25 percent of children in Travis County are food insecure. That means more than 63,000 kids in Austin often go hungry when school is out. Thankfully, through the Summer Food Service Program, Austin ISD will continue to serve FREE breakfast and lunch to local children and teens ages 18 and younger. Your child can get FREE meals even if they don’t attend AISD, regardless of economic status. No registration or identification is required. To access FREE summer […]Read More
Fall Day of Caring: 800+ volunteers come together!
On Friday, September 23, United Way Capital Area closed its doors as employees joined over 800 volunteers to complete 35 projects throughout the community. In total, volunteers gave 2,982 hours of service for UWCA’s Fall Day of Caring. Individuals from 22 Austin-area companies came together in teams to build community gardens, support local organizations, mentor students in career skills and much more. The event also boasts a key record: 28 projects were led by UWCA-trained Volunteer Project Leaders– each of them participated in a 2-hour session to learn how to make meaningful and lasting change in their community. Over the past 6 years, UWCA has taught hundreds of volunteer leaders as part of this national training initiative. To say thank you to our dedicated volunteers, we put together a YouTube video featuring clips and photos from throughout the day. Random quotes of kindness: Austin Nature & Science Center– I was amazed at how everyone worked together to get the project done. The people from the Austin Statesman really did an awesome job. The place looks remarkable, more than I expected. I really like that we are able to be a part of the Days of Caring with United Way. We always get so much done on those volunteer days. Thank you so much! – Project Leader Mainspring Schools– I absolutely loved this event. Sometimes when I volunteer, I don’t get to see the full impact of what my time and energy is buying. In this instance, I was able to see the […]Read More