United Way and HACES Expand Parent Mentor Program
United Way of Lake County and HACES (Hispanic American Community Education and Services) are proud to announce a partnership and collaboration to deliver an expanded Parent Mentor program that puts parents in the classroom to mentor Waukegan students, kindergarten through fifth grade.
Parents are trained as mentors and volunteer in a classroom four times a week for a minimum of 100 hours per semester. Parent Mentors provide direct support to students to improve their math and literacy skills and to provide additional social emotional support. The Parent Mentors also have weekly training on financial literacy, computer skills, leadership, and more. They help to fill the equity gap by volunteering in schools and creating positive change through parent engagement. The program has English and Spanish-speaking mentors with the goal of serving more than 600 students this school year in five Waukegan elementary schools.
“After a successful first year, it became clear that there was a need for even more parental involvement,” said Maria-Elena Jonas, Founder and Executive Director of HACES. “The support United Way provides will allow us to serve many more students, helping us make an even bigger impact in the community.”
Recruitment is underway for parents to serve in the classroom for two hours per day in their child’s school. The program is open to all parents who are looking to learn valuable life skills and make a positive impact on their child’s school and community. Parent Mentors work one-on-one or in small groups with students who need extra support in the classroom. They are provided the necessary training, offered weekly workshops on professional development skills in academic instruction and leadership, and compensated with a modest stipend.
Women United Hosts Back to School Fair
Earlier this month, Women United hosted a Back to School Fair at Whispering Oaks Apartments in Waukegan. Families who attended the fair enjoyed free haircuts for children, face painting, ice cream, and other fun activities. Women United members also distributed more than 100 backpacks full of school supplies so the children would have the tools they need for school, as well as books, lunch boxes, and dental hygiene kits.
Thank you to the more than 50 women who donated, volunteered or coordinated the event, and thank you to our partners for joining us to brighten the lives of the families who attended. This event was a shining example of the power of giving back. It was filled with community spirit and able to come to life through the generosity of the kind-hearted individuals who make up Women United and the local businesses who believe in investing in our communities!
Launch a Workplace Giving Campaign
Your organization, large or small, can help us create a stronger Lake County through a United Way workplace campaign. Whether your campaign is virtual or in-person, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to plan, coordinate and implement a successful fundraising campaign.
Is your organization ready to LIVE UNITED? We’ll help you get started.
Learn About Women United on Your Lunch Break
Are you looking for ways to connect to amazing women in our community, opportunities to volunteer and socialize, or ways to make a measurable difference for children in Lake County? Please join Women United on Wednesday, September 20 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. on Zoom for a prospective member Lunch & Learn.
Women United mobilizes more than 135 amazing women to help ensure that all children living in Lake County have an equal opportunity to start school ready to succeed. In addition to caring deeply about this collective effort, we have a vibrant calendar of social, volunteer and philanthropic events to make it fun and doable regardless of your busy schedule.
Company Spotlight: Derse
In celebration of its 75th anniversary, Derse—a full-service trade show and event agency—partnered with United Ways throughout the country to lead food drives supporting local communities. Here in Lake County, Derse partnered with UWLC to give hundreds of goods to local residents including diapers, cereal boxes, juices, and much more. Derse donated their collections to Cool Ministries Food Pantry in Waukegan and Avon Township Food Pantry in Round Lake.
“Derse is a fantastic employer with a great culture that takes care of each and every employee. I believe where much is given much is expected. Here in Derse Northbrook, we are all blessed with the ability to give even if it was a little. It is only fitting that we share with those who are in need of a helping hand. All employees were very generous with their donations. I am thankful we were able to contribute as a group.”
Welcome, Sophia Cotton and Marissa Gomez!
We recently welcomed two people to our United Way family; Sophia Cotton has joined us as 211 Manager, and Marissa Gomez has transitioned from Success By 6 Intern to our Success By 6 Initiative Coordinator!
Learn more about Sophia and Marissa’s roles, how they connect with our programs, and what they enjoy in their free time by clicking on their names below.
Voices United: A Celebration of MLK Jr.
In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, we partnered with McCall Elementary in Waukegan to host a new reading event—Voices United: A Celebration of MLK. Black community leaders from across Lake County were invited to read to the students. Each book provided a unique opportunity for meaningful discussions focused on and around the work of Dr. King.
Thank you to all our wonderful volunteers who came out to participate in this event. The students were very engaged! Whether in person or virtual, your presence and service were felt throughout the school. Also, we are so grateful to McCall School for working with us to host this joyous event. Through meaningful partnerships like this, we strive to continue to create positive impacts throughout Lake County.
Year-End Campaign Raises $173K!
At the end of 2022, we raised funds for our education programs and 211 helpline. Thanks to the generosity of many individuals and foundations, we raised $173K! That amount includes a $10K matching gift from our sponsor, Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County. Thank you to our supporters for making it possible for us to have an even bigger impact on our local community. Now more local children will be prepared to succeed in school and more of our neighbors will get connected to critical resources.
Women United’s New Manager: Jessica Ceisel
We are pleased to announce that Jessica Ceisel is the new Manager of our Women United affinity group!
Jessica has spent the last year at United Way as a Community Engagement Coordinator working closely with community partners, both corporate and social service agencies, to create meaningful community engagement experiences. Her background is in education, and she’s taught in the very Lake County communities Women United is serving. She’s also personally involved with medical advocacy at the legislative level through the Wisconsin Hospital Association and patient advocacy through Harmony 4 Hope, Children’s Wisconsin, and the Children’s Miracle Network.
We know Jessica will lead Women United toward their goals of strengthening the community through philanthropy, leadership and volunteerism while creating a meaningful sense of belonging for all members. Women United is a critical community within our organization and their work supports our mission by focusing on early education.
To learn more about Jessica and her role, click below.
Learn About Women United on Your Lunch Break
Are you looking for new ways to connect to amazing women in our community, new opportunities to volunteer and socialize, or new ways to make a measurable difference for those underserved in Lake County? Please join Women United on Tuesday, February 21 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. on Zoom for a prospective member Lunch & Learn.
Women United mobilizes more than 130 amazing women to help ensure that all children living in Lake County have an equal opportunity to start school ready to succeed. In addition to caring deeply about this collective effort, we have a vibrant calendar of social, volunteer and philanthropic events to make it fun and doable regardless of your busy schedule.
Company Spotlight: Amcor
This month we are spotlighting our partner, Amcor, a global packaging company. Amcor’s North American headquarters is based in Deerfield, IL. Since 2019, Amcor employees have generously donated both their time and money to support our community. For example, in October 2022, Amcor employees created snack packs for students in the Diamond Lake School District after school program. The volunteers also created cards with jokes and drawings to include in each pack in hopes of spreading joy and laughter to the students.
We asked Amcor why they choose to partner with us and this is what they said:
“As a proud supporter of United Way for many years, I believe their impact on our communities has improved the lives of many people through its funding of local agencies, programs and services. Together, we at Amcor can help all of our communities become more healthy, safe and thriving for everyone.”
Thank you, Amcor, for partnering with us to strengthen our Lake County community for all who live and work here.
If you’re interested in joining Amcor and other companies to create a successful workplace campaign or volunteer opportunity, please reach out.
Thank You, Volunteers!
This week is National Volunteer Week and we’d like to take this time to recognize all of the selfless individuals who lend their time, talent, and support to serve our community. As an organization that relies heavily on volunteers to carry out its mission, this annual week of celebration is near and dear to our hearts. Day in and day out, our volunteers help enrich the lives of those in need and build a stronger, more equitable community. Without volunteers, our work is simply not possible.
211 to Expand Beyond Lake County
We are excited to share that the Illinois 2023 Legislative Budget has included a grant to begin expanding 211 services to all counties in Illinois! Our Lake County 211 team is ecstatic to be a part of this incredible journey to better support our neighbors all across Illinois. To view the full story, as published in the Daily Herald, click below.
If you’d like to receive monthly email updates about Lake County’s 211 helpline, click here.
Introducing Gale Graves!
We are pleased to introduce our new Vice President of Community Impact, Gale Graves! In her role, Gale will develop community solutions through collaboration and strong diverse partnerships to deliver measurable, purposeful programs and initiatives. Learn more about Gale, including what made her want to join our team, by clicking below.
UWLC Donates 800 Diverse Books for Local Students
We were proud to present more than 800 books in English and Spanish for grades K-5 at North Elementary School in Waukegan. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to our Read Across America Book Drive and to our partners—the 19th Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois, the Lake County Bar Association, and the Association of Women Attorneys of Lake County! Now more children will have access to culturally diverse books.
“I am constantly impressed with United Way of Lake County’s community efforts and contributions. My students have benefited greatly over the years due to the Reading Success Program. Not only are they getting quality reading support but they also get the opportunity to interact with a community member in an engaging way. This recent book donation with an emphasis on equity is just another example of United Way’s commitment to education for all.” – Jenny Chang-West, M.Ed., First Grade Teacher, North Elementary School
Company Spotlight: CF Industries
This month we’re shining a spotlight on CF Industries, a leading global manufacturer of hydrogen and nitrogen products. The company, headquartered in Deerfield, has as its mission to provide clean energy to feed and fuel the world sustainably.
CF Industries has a long history of corporate philanthropy and a culture that prides itself on giving back. For more than 25 years, CF Industries has partnered with United Way of Lake County through its workplace giving campaign to unite employees in support of our local community. Since 1996, employees have invested more than $400K to help us create positive change and build a stronger Lake County. Additionally, the company has matched these funds by investing more than $165K!
“The work that the United Way of Lake County does is one of the reasons we are proud to call Lake County the home of CF Industries. We are pleased to continue to support United Way’s efforts, and look forward to celebrating the lasting change achieved in the years ahead.” – Sue Menzel, Senior Vice President, Human Resources at CF Industries
Thank you, CF Industries, for your loyal support and for fueling the important work we do to transform lives right here in Lake County.
Register for Kindergarten Countdown Camp
Kindergarten Countdown Camp (KCC) is our free summer learning program for children entering kindergarten this fall who have little to no preschool experience. Children who attend KCC will adjust to the classroom setting, practice following directions and rules, and practice key kindergarten skills. KCC is a great opportunity to get your child prepared to succeed in kindergarten.
Registration is still open for students in the North Chicago, Round Lake and Waukegan school districts. KCC in North Chicago runs from June 21–July 28, Round Lake runs from June 7–June 30, and Waukegan runs from June 6–June 30.
Interested? Fill out the registration form for your school district at the link below.
Lunch and Learn About Women United
If you are looking for new ways to connect to amazing women in our community, new opportunities to volunteer and socialize, or new ways to make a measurable difference for those underserved in Lake County, please join Women United on May 5 from Noon to 1 p.m. on Zoom for a prospective member Lunch and Learn.
Women United mobilizes more than 120 amazing women to ensure children living in Lake County’s challenged communities are prepared for kindergarten and ready to succeed. In addition to caring deeply about this collective effort, we have a vibrant calendar of social, volunteer and philanthropic events to make it fun and doable regardless of your busy schedule.
We’re searching for the right person to join our team as Success By 6’s Initiative Coordinator. This position is responsible for coordinating and implementing several of our Success By 6 initiatives and projects.
We are also looking to hire a Kindergarten Readiness Coordinator to assist with this summer’s Kindergarten Countdown Camps. This is a full-time, temporary position from May to August, 2022.
Women United’s Corporate Future Leaders of Color
Corporate Future Leaders of Color (CFLoC), a project of Women United’s Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Initiative, is a year-long cohort-based program that provides networking, community service, leadership, social and mentorship opportunities by engaging and developing Lake County’s women leaders of color who demonstrate leadership potential.
Our inaugural CFLoC cohort will begin this month and is made up of 11 women who are passionate about making a difference in Lake County. These women have been hand-picked from Sysmex, AbbVie, Great Lakes Credit Union, Libertyville School District 128, AON, Waukegan Public Schools, and Alight Solutions.
“We can’t wait to welcome these leaders into the group, and we especially look forward to learning from and with them as we keep working toward our mission of a Lake County where all children start out with what they need to succeed in school.” – Lori Miller, Chair of Women United