Positively impacting our youngest community members
Great Rivers United Way (GRUW) currently funds 52 programs offered at 26 partner agencies located throughout our seven-county service region. You may have heard that we recently wrapped up our 2021 fundraising campaign. What you might not know is that we began using that money this month!
To be eligible to receive funding, agencies must first apply for certification. Following that, any certified agency program that is working toward one or more of the three objectives in GRUW’s strategic plan may apply for a grant.
One of those objectives is positively impact our youngest community members. GRUW funds a spectrum of services that help area children grow up resilient and successful.
Starting early on in a child’s life – even before birth – GRUW funding helps families. Our Great Rivers HUB initiative works to bring healthy babies into the world by providing support and services to pregnant women considered high risk for poor health outcomes.
The Healthy Families Program at Family and Children’s Center is a home visiting program offered to parents-to-be and parents of infants to help provide parenting support that is proven to reduce child abuse. At The Parenting Place, GRUW funds provide parents one-on-one and group support to help build protective factors that lead to positive youth outcomes.
As children get older, they have opportunities to participate in some well-known programming funded by GRUW. Boys & Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Big Brothers Big Sisters offer out-of-school opportunities and activities that build skills and meaningful relationships.
We also fund lesser-known programs. The Restorative Justice program at the YWCA helps middle-school youth resolve conflicts and promotes social-emotional growth by teaching students how to lead peers in Justice Circles. Justice Circles are formed with students and staff when conflicts arise. A student Circle Keeper facilitates the group, and ensures everyone involved has a voice and is heard.
Boosting reading skills is important. Funds raised also support GRUW’s own Read to Success program. Read to Success pairs volunteers with third graders who need extra help. Focus is on third grade because that is the point where students transition from learning to read to reading to learn.
Other school-aged programming funded by GRUW is geared toward safety and prevention. The Pillowcase Project through the American Red Cross help children learn about fire safety. Coulee Council on Addictions offers programs that help prevent kids from using drugs and alcohol. She Hlub, a program at Cia Siab, Inc., helps Hmoob youth create healthy relationships with elders, heal from trauma, and celebrate Hmoob culture.
Some programs that GRUW funds tackle tough problems that we hope no child ever encounters, like child abuse, healing from abuse, providing testimony of abuse, and witnessing domestic violence. Programs like Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Kids at the YWCA and Stepping Stones at Family and Children’s Center provide advocacy and support to children when courts are involved.
Programs through New Horizons and Bluff Country Family Resources help those who have experienced domestic violence to heal and find resources to help live safer lives. These include working with children exposed to violence.
As we near the end of April, Child Abuse Prevention Month, we want to thank all our partners for the work they are doing to prevent abuse and help children and youth heal. We’re also thankful for the community support that helps fund this important work.
To learn more about the programs helping impact the youngest community members, visit www.gruw.org/april. In the coming months, we’ll introduce you to additional partners who are meeting equally important needs.