Little Kids, Big Futures: Home Visiting
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, Success by 6‘s Home Visiting Program in North Chicago, Waukegan and Zion.
Home Visiting is a simple but powerful concept: Provide in-home early intervention for families with infants and preschool-age children who struggle with poverty and have a hard time accessing health and community services.
United Way of Lake County identifies eligible families and sends help directly to them! Each family is assigned a Home Visiting caseworker and nurse. The caseworker and nurse help mold the family into a team. The team meets often, and parents learn new skills and connect to other community resources — all aimed towards the goal of improving the children’s academic and social skills and identifying, treating and managing any health care needs before they become critical.
Women United has supported this program with $38,000 in funding since 2017.
In 2010, Alma and her family qualified for the Home Visiting program. Home Visiting gave Alma the solid foundation she needed to succeed in school. And, her mom added, “Alma used to be very shy. Home Visiting gave Alma confidence about her abilities.” Alma continues to excel in school and her confidence shines brightly. Alma’s teacher says Alma is a model for her peers, “She is eager to learn and raises her hand for everything!”
Women United has a deep affinity for the North Chicago, Waukegan and Zion communities, providing resources and funding to increase the service available for children and families.
“Women United was pleased to be able to fund this important collaborative Home Visiting program between United Way, One Hope United and the Lake County Healthy Department for families with young children,” said Diana Nielander, Affinity Group Manager. “We truly understand the importance of providing in-home, individualized wrap-around services for some of our county’s highest-risk families.”
The results are clear. Home Visiting children demonstrate significant improvements in school readiness. Specifically, our community’s professional educators report that children should be at least “in progress” in key kindergarten readiness skills when starting school. The data show that of the children who start in Home Visiting, only 11% of them rate as ‘in progress’ in these skills. But by the end of Home Visiting, 99% are ‘in progress’ or better in skills needed to succeed in kindergarten. Why? Because the program helps parents increase their engagement in caring for their children, and in turn, the children get the care they need to thrive!
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.
Women United has a huge hand in Home Visiting growth and success. 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.