It all starts with kindergarten.

United Way is working toward advancing the common good by focusing on the building blocks for a good quality of life – education, income and health. We all have a stake in making sure that today’s children grow up to be productive citizens who give back to the community. And the best thing we can do to get them off to the right start is to focus on education.

The research is overwhelming: Kindergarten matters. Children who are not ready for kindergarten are 25% more likely to not graduate from high school, and 70% more likely to commit a crime as an adult. It is our responsibility as a community to change the statistics.

United Way’s goal is for every child in our community to be ready for kindergarten. We’re channeling significant funding from our Community Impact Fund into programs focused on kindergarten readiness. We host the Ready, Set, GROW! Event every two years to provide families with free resources for their little ones. And we produce enough “Getting Ready for Kindergarten” calendars for every 4 and 5 year old in Champaign County. The best part? We’re seeing results.

To have strong and productive communities, to develop a skilled workforce, to compete in the global economy, to curb criminal behavior - we need to put a stake in the ground and commit to helping every child in our community. Because it all starts with kindergarten.

It takes an entire community to make a difference, and we need you! Tomorrow we'll continue the discussion on kindergarten readiness and share more details on what it means to be truly kindergarten ready.