Little Kids, Big Futures: Kindergarten Countdown Camps
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 Kindergarten Countdown Camp (KCC) in Beach Park, North Chicago, Round Lake and Waukegan.
KCC is a free summer learning program for incoming kindergarten students with limited to no preschool experience. Think of it like kindergarten boot camp! KCC teaches these little ones the basic skills they need to start school prepared — skills like adjusting to a classroom setting, following directions and rules, recognizing shapes, letters, and numbers, and of course, counting to ten and writing their names.
This initiative was proven successful in Waukegan and now has expanded into two more communities to reach more kids. Women United has supported KCC with a total of $132,000 in funding and a pledge of $65,000 more in 2019, allowing KCC to serve 120 children each summer.
In addition to contributing their money, Women United members have volunteered their time as Reading Buddies and Teacher Assistants. Volunteers read in small groups that gives each child the special attention they need. These efforts echo the true mission of Women United, which is to ensure that children enter kindergarten ready to succeed.
“It was fun to interact with the children and see the excitement on their faces as they got engrossed in the story,” said long-time Women United member, Lori Cruz.
A few years ago, 5-year-old Jessie attended KCC in preparation to start school. Jessie’s parents also took part in KCC’s Parent Event to learn how they could help Jessie prepare for kindergarten. At the Parent Event, parents learned about school readiness skills and received tips and resources for teaching their child at home.
“My dream is that my children will succeed in life,” said Tapia, Jessie’s father.
Women United has a deep affinity for the North Chicago, Round Lake and Waukegan communities, providing resources and funding to increase the services available for children and families.
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 KCC’s 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.