Strong Families: Key to Long Term Success
United Way of the Greater Dayton Area has long provided essential services to lift our neighbors up in their time of need. Our focus has been on income stability, education, and health for the most vulnerable among us. One of the unique advantages of United Way’s leadership position is its ability to bring together social service agencies, volunteers, and the community at large to go beyond providing for the immediate needs of our neighbors by actually attacking the root causes of poverty.
We are very excited to announce an aggressive expansion of our collective impact efforts to attack these root causes. Our new Strong Families initiative purposefully moves well beyond the essential needs of today to address the root causes of poverty through a more holistic focus on family stability. This new Initiative will bring together social service agencies and educational service centers, to address job-training, financial stability, and housing stability issues across two or more generations within a household unit, enabling that family to overcome its challenges, learn to cope, and even thrive in the long term.
United Way’s Strong Families initiative’s goal is to work with specific vulnerable families with school age children to improve that family’s educational, financial, and housing stability. The program funds agencies to work together to collectively attack a wide range of challenges for a particular family. A trained caseworker is assigned to identify the family’s particular challenges, and bring resources together to identify and remove barriers to its success. The program aims to provide services to both children and adults in the household simultaneously. Outcomes are tracked, and agencies work together, sharing best practices that will deliver long term success. The United Way serves as the backbone organization, putting together grant proposals and funding the most promising and successful mix of resources and caseworkers, collecting data on successful approaches, and fine tuning the initiatives in the process.
What does success look like for a family?
- Educational Stability: children have the opportunity to stay in their school of origin, learn, make friends, build relationships with teachers, and take advantage of the programs offered at school.
- Financial Stability: families achieve an income level that allows them to thrive, not just survive.
- Housing Stability: families are secure in the knowledge that they have the resources to stay in their homes for the long term.
We are excited for this program to purposefully include and work with families that have jobs, but aren’t today making enough money to make ends meet. These families are often made up of “essential workers” that educate or care for our children, keep us all healthy, and make our quality of life possible, yet don’t earn enough to support their own families. These households are often forced to make impossible choices that have long term consequences—pay the rent, or secure quality child care? Keep the lights on, or fund the family’s transportation? The Strong Families initiative’s case worker assigned to such a family can identify the barriers to greater success, and bring the community’s social service resources to bear that will work with that family to improve its particular circumstances, assuring them of greater success in the long run.
How can you help? To unlock the true potential of families in Greater Dayton and lift our entire region up, takes funding. Your contribution to United Way will bring direct support to lift entire families up to greater success. There are also numerous volunteer opportunities for those that can offer time. Help your neighbor’s family to greater stability and success by donating or volunteering.
It takes all of us, United, to have the kind of impact our community needs.
Retired, Avery Dennison