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August 4, 2014
Despite being considered one of the healthiest states to live in (8th in 2013 and Denver being ranked as the 4th healthiest city in the U.S. in 2014), Colorado isn't necessarily a better place to raise kids. According to the recent KIDS COUNT study, a “child's chances of thriving depend not just on individual, familial and community characteristics, but also on the state in which she or he is born and raised.” In this study, Colorado is ranked 22nd in overall child well-being throughout the nation, dropping one spot from the previous year. This study looks at several factors in determining their score including economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. With 22 percent of 3rdgraders not reading at grade level and 17 percent of high school students not graduating on time in Larimer County, it is clear to see that there is room for improvement close to home as well as on a state-wide level.
Early childhood education is a factor to any child's success. Early language and literacy development are linked with academic achievement, higher graduation rates, and enhanced productivity in life.It has become clear that the problem begins at a much younger age than third grade. Kids are not just falling behind once they enter school; they are arriving to kindergarten already behind their peers.
So what does it take to raise those statistics and make Colorado a better place for kids?
While early childhood education is a very important factor, it is not the only thing that contributes to a child's well-being. The family's financial stability and health also play a vital role in whether or not a child succeeds and becomes a thriving member of the community. For example, Casey is a child who is enrolled in an early childhood education program. His family struggles financially and they need utility and rent assistance to be able to stay in their home; the assistance his family receives keeps Casey in a stable living situation where he does not have to worry about where he is going to sleep at night and able to focus at school. Later on, the assistance Casey's family receives in filing taxes enables them to get a larger tax return, and ultimately be better able to provide for the family.
What's being done?
United Way of Larimer County's Community Impact Plan addresses the three core issues that keep people and families in the poverty cycle:
By creating community-wide partnerships in these areas and fostering collaboration in meeting needs, United Way hopes to decrease poverty and increase prosperity for all in for Larimer County. Singular organizations can work to address surface level issues in one or two of these focus areas, but by working together, we can deal with the root issues that keep families in the cycle of poverty. Together, we can drive lasting change for our community.
A gift to United Way's Community Impact Fund is one of the most beneficial ways to help drive lasting change. Donations support the community-wide movement to improve lives right here in Larimer County. Together, we can reduce poverty, increase prosperity and create opportunities for everyone in Larimer County to have a better life.
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County