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Working with local youth

Listening Sessions with Young People


Over the next few months, United Way will be working with organizations and youth throughout our community to see how we can bridge the gap between where they see things now and where they’d like it to be.

Check back here frequently for the latest updates!


Why it matters


There’s an old adage:

“Kids learn to read up until 3rd grade. After 3rd grade kids read to learn.”

This saying is based on years of research.

Data from Advance Illinois, a statewide education advocacy group states that “Research shows that low-income students hear 30 million fewer words than their wealthier peers by age 3, and students with access to high quality early education and kindergarten programs are better equipped to succeed in elementary school.”

Further, state data shows that here in McLean County, over 330 three and four year old, low income students (over 25%) don’t have access to public pre-K due to inadequate space.

Further, our local Promise Councils indicate that as many as 1 in 3 kids in McLean County are living in poverty!


How many 180’s do you want to create?