In 2007, United Way of Cascade County reached out to the community and asked what you thought would make Great Falls a better place. Your ideas and priorities have guided us to work on the following community initiatives:
Following your directive, we prioritized our efforts in improving education and giving students more opportunities to achieve academic greatness. We've pulled together a dozen strong education advocates on our Education Impact Council and already are seeing positive results from our efforts. We're targeting students at three key ages:
Preschool -- United Way of Cascade County partnered with the Great Falls Early Childhood Coalition, Great Falls Public Schools, Opportunities Incorporated and the University of Great Falls to study school readiness of children entering kindergarten. This project is designed to define our community's strengths, identify barriers and prepare kids for success.
Third grade -- Studies show that students who aren't reading to their grade level in third grade are four times as likely to drop out of high school. We started a tutoring program at Whittier Elementary, targeting first, second and third-graders scoring below proficiency in either math or reading. Early reports indicate these kids progressed at higher rates than other students and better than national averages. We hope to expand this program to other schools.
High school -- We are looking to launch a community-wide campaign to stress the importance of high school graduation with the goal of getting every Great Falls student to graduate on-time. Once again, we'll be turning to teachers, parents, students and the community to hear your ideas for how we can make this happen. Interested in getting involved click here.
The United Way board is now pivoting its attention to the areas of financial stability and health. With the goal of making more people financially independent, we're partnering with Rural Dynamics, NeighborWorks Great Falls, Opportunities Incorporated and Job Service and have identified other key stakeholders in the community. One initial idea is establishing a "one-stop shop" center that bundles services to help low-income families. Other United Ways have found this strategy effective. Want to get involved? Click here.
United Way is looking for passionate advocates, who want to help make our community healthier. We're searching city and county health statistics and bringing people together to identify goals and start community initiatives. Early discussions have placed decreasing the number of obese children in our community a top priority. If you'd like to be a part of the discussion please click here.
United Way programs at work in our community....
Looking for help? Just dial 2-1-1 from your phone. Montana 2-1-1 is a service that connects people with local community services and volunteer opportunities. For more information on Montana 2-1-1, please click here.