Enhance Education

35% of children in our community entering fourth grade are not reading on grade level — and are four times less likely to graduate on time. United Way provides these children a safe place to learn, after-school activities, mentors, books and summer programs to keep them on track to graduate and have a successful life.

Midlands Reading Consortium

Literacy Skills

Last year, United Way supporters helped 531 elementary students improve their reading skills through the Midlands Reading Consortium (MRC). United Way has programs like MRC because 35 percent of children in our community entering fourth grade are not reading on grade level — and those who aren’t are four times less likely to graduate on time. United Way provides these children a champion, as well as a safe place to learn, after-school activities, mentors, books and summer programs to keep them on track to graduate and have a successful life.

Summer Camps

Summer slide is a term used in education that refers to learning loss that takes place during the summer months. If a child falls behind in reading during the school year, summer can make it worse. Studies suggest that students without access to books and learning can fall behind by as much as 2 months over the course of the summer. Over the years that adds up. In partnership with local school districts in the Midlands, United Way supports Summer Reading Camps for students who are not reading proficiently at the end of third grade, a critical grade for literacy.

Our Impact

United Way of the Midlands fights to make sure children enter kindergarten ready to learn, read on grade level by third grade, and are on track to graduate high school on time. Through United Way-funded programs, students and families are engaged to ensure children’s success.

  • 512 children were tutored through the Midlands Reading Consortium (MRC) and the number of children who improved reading skills generally doubled between fall and spring
  • 1,415 elementary students completed summer reading camps that mitigated the impact of summer learning loss and helped students start the next year on track
  • 2,800 students participated in quality programs during and after school
  • 3,645 parents demonstrated increased knowledge about their children’s development through school readiness and parent engagement programs
  • More than 90% of students demonstrated progress on one or more of the following indicators: grades, improved reading skills or attitude, progressing (on time) to the next grade

Our REsearch

USC PARENT ENGAGEMENT STUDY

In order to build on the efforts of the Midlands Reading Consortium (MRC), a landscape survey of family engagement practices to support youth academic success at the level of school districts (4) and schools (12) was completed. Both qualitative and quantitative survey methods were used to establish a picture of current family engagement practices that can be used to guide future programmatic and investment strategies.

USC Parent Engagement Study (PDF)

See All Education Research

Want to help?

Every child deserves a chance to succeed. By giving to United Way, you support important education efforts beyond the classroom and help create lifelong learners.

Helping children at the local level

Local organizations are often in the best position to make a positive impact on a community, quickly. Last year, United Way of the Midlands distributed almost a million dollars in grants to local organizations who are fighting to equalize educational opportunities for all our children. 

Total Funding $997,400

$23,400 to ABLE South Carolina

EQUIP for Future Success

The mission of EQUIP is to empower young adults with disabilities to take the lead on their lives, advocate for their rights, and engage in their communities. EQUIP is an inclusive, educational group designed to teach young adults (ages 13-28) with disabilities the value of self-advocacy, disability pride, youth empowerment, and professional skills. 

Equip Website 

$250,000 to Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands

Literacy Leaders

The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands is to inspire and enable young people, especially those who need us most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.  

$8,700 to Calhoun County First Steps

This grant allows rising kindergartners to participate in Countdown To Kindergarten, a statewide school transition program.

$150,000 to Communities in Schools of the Midlands

Our mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

$6,700 to Fairfield County First Steps

This grant allows rising kindergartners to participate in Countdown To Kindergarten, a statewide school transition program.

$11,600 to Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

$63,000 to Girl Scouts of South Carolina Mountains to Midlands

Daisy Power Literacy Project

The Daisy Power Project was coordinated with the hopes of improving literacy at the Daisy Girl Scout troop level – the organization’s youngest age group – in high-need areas.

$29,000 to Girl Scouts of South Carolina Mountains to Midlands

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

$35,000 to Homeless No More

Family homelessness is a temporary problem, not a chronic condition. However, federal funding has evaporated for many family programs as HUD’s focus, and that of many local funders, has turned to chronically homeless men and women. As a result, families have fallen through the cracks. We can change this. By helping parents and children achieve lasting independence, our organization seeks to eradicate family homelessness.

Homeless No More Website

$10,000 to Lexington County First Steps

This grant allows rising kindergartners to participate in Countdown To Kindergarten, a statewide school transition program.

$10,000 to Orangeburg County First Steps

This grant allows rising kindergartners to participate in Countdown To Kindergarten, a statewide school transition program.

$50,000 to Reach Out and Read Midlands, SC

Reach Out and Read is a nonprofit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together.

The best opportunity to influence a child's future is in the first five years, a critical window of rapid brain development that does not occur at any other time. Children who hear fewer words during early childhood start school developmentally behind their peers and may never catch up.

Reach Out and Read Website

$40,000 to School Districts

Funding summer programs for kids throughout the Midlands to reduce summer slide and provide opportunities for growth. 

$310,000 to Vital Connections of the Midlands

VCM is a non-profit organization that developed from United Way’s work in early childhood more than 10 years ago. VCM manages three nationally-accredited child care centers: Arthurtown, Tender Years and Children's Garden. Highly-qualified teachers and staff care for and educate more than 100 low-income and homeless children from birth through age three in Richland County. Both Tender Years and Arthurtown are Early Head Start sites and provide comprehensive services for both children and families including mental health screenings, health care and parenting support.