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Investing in Education

By Paul Mina President & CEO of United Way of Tri-County 
Success in life begins with a quality education. And yet, millions of children and youth lack the support they need to strengthen their literacy, stay on track in school, graduate high school and find a career. Thousands of adults lack the professional training required to take their career to the next level. 
At the United Way of Tri-County, we’re working to change that by investing in education from cradle through career. By prioritizing education, we are ensuring every child gets a strong start in life, young adults have the tools they need to learn and grow, and adults thrive in the job market. 
We know that children who enter kindergarten developmentally behind their peers may never catch up and are 3-4 times more likely to drop out of high school. We invest in early education programs, provide new books to young children to build home libraries thourgh our Ready to Read Program, and help families connect with pre-school and learning opportunities. 
We know that children who don’t achieve grade level reading by the end of third grade struggle to catch up in school. We invest in afterschool programs that provide homework help and tutoring in a safe, supportive environment for growth and development.
We know that when students don’t have basic tools like pens, pencils, notebooks, and calculators, they have increased anxiety and decreased academic performance at school. We provide new backpacks full of school supplies through our Tools for School Program to children in grades K-12 so they can start the school year strong. 
We know that chronic unemployment and underemployment are challenges for adults who work hard to make ends meet. We invest in partners who provide adult basic education programs, relevant job training, certificate and licensing programs that help people get higher paying jobs and work toward self-sufficiency.
By investing in education, we invest in the future success of everyone in our communities.