Since 2014, Women United has allocated over a half a million dollars in grants through its Little Kids, Big Futures Philanthropy Fund to support early literacy programs across Lake County. The Fund gives members the opportunity to allocate their own money to the specific programs they believe in.
Today, we are continuing our blog series that takes a deeper dive into each of the programs receiving funding this year, thanks to Little Kids, Big Futures. Next up, the B.E.S.T. Pre-K Program in Round Lake.
“We’ve had the pleasure of visiting B.E.S.T to see it in action and we’re always impressed by the amazing program they run.” says Diana Nielander, manager of Women United of Lake County. “The quality of their teachers and programming, and their dedication to measuring outcomes to ensure effectiveness are truly great news for the youngest learners in Round Lake.”
The Round Lake Park District runs the B.E.S.T. Pre-K Program and focuses on younger children, in this low-income community, who need to develop basic learning skills. Research shows that kids have a better chance of getting on the path to learning, when they enter formal schooling, when they can do things such as identifying colors, holding a book properly, and writing their own names. The same goes for being able to listen to directions, take turn, and follow a routine.
For the past four years, Women United’s grants have provided scholarships for 24 children to attend B.E.S.T. Pre-K Program in Round Lake. Without a scholarship, the parents of these children would not have been able to send them to a Pre-K program where they would gain critical basic skills in time for kindergarten. We’re thrilled to announce that we will continue our funding next year which means at least 120 more children in our community will be ready to learn when they walk through the kindergarten doorway!
“With the assistance of Women United of United Way of Lake County we have been able to make this [preschool] dream come true for over 80 four and five-year-olds for the past four years. Women United is an amazing group of women who share our vision and our passion for early childhood education,” says Joan Ellis, Child Development Center Manager for the round Lake Area Park District. “We have been extremely grateful for all their assistance in providing funding for preschool scholarships in our community. It is because of this group of women that more children will be prepared for kindergarten. The children will be familiar with letters, numbers, shapes, writing their names, early literacy, large and small motor development and social and emotional development, giving the children the confidence they need to be successful in school.”
Check out this beautiful video that the B.E.S.T. Pre-K Program sent Women United to say “thank you” for providing several children with preschool scholarships.
Women United strengthens the community through philanthropy, leadership and volunteerism while creating a meaningful sense of belonging. Through this powerful network of 100 women, we leverage our ideas, expertise, resources and passions to ensure children living in Lake County’s most vulnerable communities are prepared for kindergarten and ready to succeed.
Interested in learning more about Women United? Join members on August 22 at 6 – 7:30 p.m., in Libertyville for a Wine & Learn event, an informal gathering for prospective members to learn more about what it means to be a member and what Women United does. Email Janice.Scarbalis@uwlakeco.org to RSVP and we will send you the exact address of the meeting location or visit our event page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/events/353673111897639/).