United Way Joins The Success Equation

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We've become a partner in The Success Equation. The effort, under the umbrella of Children First/CIS, unites community partners to reduce the incidence of poverty and its impact on children in Buncombe County through education, collaboration, and public policy, resulting in an environment where all children can thrive.

As a partner, we will share information and opportunities related to The Success Equation and hope you will take the time to learn more about the kinds of issues our community is working on. Other partners include the Cathedral of All Souls, Girl Scouts Peak to Piedmont, Junior League of Asheville, Just Economics, InnovoGraph, Innovative Partners International, Searchlight Consulting, Smart Start of Buncombe County, Women’s Wellbeing and Development Foundation, and YWCA.

"No child chooses to be born into poverty. We believe all children in our community deserve a quality education, financial stability, and access to a healthy lifestyle to ensure they have opportunities for success now and in the future," said David Bailey, President and CEO of United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County. "Child poverty impacts all of us because today's children are tomorrow's teachers, doctors, policymakers, and parents. No single individual or organization can accomplish wide-scale community change alone. We are stronger, more powerful, when we work together. This is what collective impact is about."

While every student faces challenges, those who live in poverty must navigate more obstacles in order to make it to graduation. Students who don't graduate from high school face a life filled with greater obstacles, impacting their long-term health and income — and often determining if they live in poverty the rest of their lives. In 2014, more than 750 students in our public schools were homeless and the number continues to grow. Approximately 56% of all students in Asheville City and Buncombe County Schools received free or reduced cost meals because their families' low income qualifies them for federal assistance. In some elementary schools, as many as 80%-90% of students in the school receive free or reduced price meals. Children living in poverty have a higher rate of absenteeism and may leave school because they are more likely to have to work or care for family members.

Success starts with where we live, work, learn, and play. The Success Equation brings the community together to support children so that they can live happy, safe, and productive lives. For more information about the way The Success Equation works, please visit this page.

About The Success Equation

In 2010, Children First/CIS launched a listening project to document the experience of families facing poverty in Buncombe County. 113 low-income people, including teen and Latina mothers, participated in focus groups and one-on-one interviews. Additionally, we interviewed service providers that work with low-income families. Interview participants represented a wide geographic range: from public housing in the city, the Emma community, south Asheville, east Asheville, and Barnardsville. Children First/CIS presented the issues raised by the listening session to a broader community summit for action ideas. In May 2011, Children First/CIS hosted a two-day appreciative inquiry summit attended by 120 participants representing local organizations, community leaders, low-income individuals and interested community members. Out of this summit, an Action Plan was created and committees formed.

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