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June 2019 e-Newsletter

Local Organizations Help United Way ‘Stuff the Bus’

Several local companies, organizations and individuals have come together this summer to make a difference for children in Lake County by participating in United Way’s Stuff the Bus donation drive. They are collecting school supplies and backpacks for children from low-income families so they have everything they need to begin the school year ready to learn.

Studies show that children having school supplies of their own can improve grades, creativity, attitudes towards learning, behavior, peer relationships and self-esteem, paving the way to a better education and a successful future. United Way believes children should have the chance to succeed in school, regardless of income. We believe that the future of Lake County starts with preparing children to succeed in school today.

Want to help United Way Stuff the Bus? Now through July 26, you can contribute as an individual or your company/organization can team up to make a difference! Learn more by clicking below.

A big thank you to all of the generous companies and organizations that are collecting donations for Stuff the Bus!


Career Speakers Highlight

Many students in our community often do not have the resources available to gain exposure from professional role models essential for developing career interests. Through our Stay in School Program, we aim to help bridge that gap by coordinating Career Speaker visits with small groups of Waukegan students. Career Speakers are successful local professionals who demonstrate the value of staying in school and illustrate the direct connection between academics and future success.

This school year, we continued to work with three student groups at Abbott Middle School in Waukegan: Young Ladies of Distinction, Young Men of Vision and Jr. National Honor Society. Our Career Speaker volunteers included:

  • Carlos Alban, Vice Chairman and Chief Commercial Officer, AbbVie
  • Dean Hintzmann, Retired
  • Karen Jones, Abbott Retiree and Women United Member
  • Holly Kim, Lake County Treasurer
  • Beth Krenzer, Global Manufacturing Consultant and Women United Member
  • Anton Mathews, Community Outreach Coordinator, Lake County Treasurer Office
  • Tony Thompson, Abbott Retiree
  • Cynthia Vargas, Lake County Courthouse
  • Mike Zafirovski, Founder & President , The Zaf Group

Click on the highlighted names to learn more about what the speaker discussed and to view photos from their visit.


Become a Reading Success Tutor

Do you enjoy working with elementary-age children? Do you want to make a difference in the community you live in or near? United Way of Lake County’s Reading Success Program welcomes you!

Our program serves elementary schools in Waukegan and we place volunteers in first through third grade classrooms. No prior experience required, only a love of children and books! We are always in need of bilingual Spanish speaking volunteers. To be a volunteer tutor, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Pass a background check
  • Commit to 1 hour per week in the classroom

If you are interested in volunteering as a Reading Success tutor, simply fill out this online form with your basic information. Our volunteer coordinator will call or email you with more information in a few days. Volunteering begins in late September and early October. Our program runs through the end of May.

For more information, please contact Sue at sue.baehr@uwlakeco.org or
(847) 775-1032.


Volunteers in Action: BMO Harris Bank

This year, BMO Harris volunteers used their creativity to assemble and decorate 400 Literacy Kits for the students that will participate in this year’s Kindergarten Countdown Camp! Volunteers also filled 140 backpacks! Each backpack will be a significant help to a low-income family in need of support during the back to school season. For every kit created and backpack filled, there is one more Lake County child ready to learn.

From everyone at United Way of Lake County, thank you BMO for helping our children succeed, we are lucky to partner with you for BMO Volunteer Day!

To view photos from the event, click the button below.

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Preventing the “Summer Slide”

Over the course of the summer, idle, low-income students lose two to three months’ worth of reading skills compared to students who are not low-income. Some call this “summer slide”. To address summer slide, we developed Kindergarten Countdown Camp (KCC), an initiative under our Success By 6 Program, designed to bridge the gap for Lake County’s youngest learners.

The free camps are open to incoming kindergartners with little to no preschool experience nor have been in a classroom setting. At KCC, licensed teachers focus on teaching children the basic skills needed for Kindergarten, such as knowing their letters, numbers and how to write their name. The children learn the routine of school, develop new skills, meet new friends and realize they can succeed in a school setting.

Preventing summer slide is a considerable factor in ensuring all Lake County children are on a pathway to future success. Click below to read the full article.


A Lovely Thank You to Women United

Women United recently received a very thoughtful thank you video from the B.E.S.T. Pre-K Program, one of their philanthropy fund grantees! Women United’s funding will continue to allow this Round Lake Area Park District program to provide 20 scholarships for children who otherwise would not have access to preschool. We are always excited to see more opportunities for children to get prepared for kindergarten and ready to learn.

Check out the video below!

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Jennifer Strom

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