United Way's Role in Education

In summer 2011, CAYLA students participatd in United Way's Community Conversation on Education


Let’s talk about learning and school. This is the launching of my education blog so people can share thoughts and ideas about educating young people – particularly in Asheville and Buncombe County.

My name is Ann, and I’m interested in these discussions for a number of reasons – I have two children who went through the Asheville City School System, I also served a term on the City School Board, prepped dropouts for their GED exams, and tutored elementary and middle school students. Because of my work at United Way as vice president of planning and community investment, I’ve learned from many educators, parents, business leaders, and volunteers about their thoughts on education.

Sometimes I’m asked “Why is United Way working on education issues? Aren’t there other groups like the school systems and their foundations that address the topic of education?”

Here’s the scoop: Throughout its 91 year history, this United Way has been involved in education.  As far back as 1921 when it was the Community Chest, funds went to Lindley Training School and Community Night Schools. For many years, it has supported youth programs such as YMCA, YWCA, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Asheville Day Nursery, Irene Wortham Center, Asheville City Preschool, and Mountain Area Child and Family Centers. In fact, for the past 10 years, 2000-2010, United Way invested over $8.7 million dollars in youth development programs.

Today, we recognize Education as one of the building blocks of a good life for everyone. The larger community has a role in educating children because we all have a stake in the success of our students.

As I explore Education topics, this blog will highlight

  • my own observations,
  • current research and innovations in field,
  • what’s working in our community and the challenges we face,
  • United Way’s special initiatives and investments in youth and
  • what we are hearing through our Community Conversations on Education.

So I’m hoping you will join me in the discussion and invite others to join us as well.


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