|Focuses on Community Impact Advocacy
BRADENTON, FL — Today, United Way of Manatee County joined Florida’s 31 other local United Ways in putting forward the 2014 United Way of Florida Consensus Agenda. Included in the agenda were advocacy initiatives aimed at ensuring that all Floridians have the ability to seek out the quality early education for their children, find financial stability through employment, and have access to affordable health coverage.
“Through collective funding and community impact initiatives, Florida United Ways have a deep understanding of the problems our communities face and how to tackle them,” said United Way of Florida President Ted Granger. “Every day, in almost every way, decisions made in Tallahassee affect our work in the community. We are here to offer that perspective and are committed to working with our elected leaders to implement meaningful social and economic Community Impact.”
United Way supports a range of issues to advance its mission. The 2014 Florida United Way Consensus Legislative Agenda represents the priorities that Florida’s United Ways will focus on during the 2014 Florida Legislative Session and was developed based on their individual Community Impact work. This year’s priority issues will focus on:
§ Early Learning – Florida’s United Ways urge the 2014 Florida Legislature to provide access to high quality early learning programs for all children.
§ Access to Healthcare – Florida’s United Ways urge the 2014 Florida Legislature to provide access to affordable healthcare for all Floridians.
§ Financial Stability – Florida’s United Ways urge Congress to reauthorize financial stability programs and to preserve and strengthen tax credits for low income households.
Here at United Way of Manatee County, one program on which we focus on, in the area of Education, is ReadingPals. ReadingPals is a highly interactive one-on-one guided reading program designed to help children read at grade level by third grade. This 25 week program matches each volunteer with 2 kindergarten students per weekly session. ReadingPals offers individuals the opportunity to make a difference in our schools and have a lasting and life-changing impact on the lives of our struggling students. In the Annie E. Casey report published in April 2011, it was stated that “students who don’t read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to leave without a diploma than proficient readers.” We know that when a child struggles to read well, they are far more likely to slip behind and increase their chance of dropping out of school.
“By way of example, ReadingPals is a program that United Way of Manatee County has initiated to mobilize our community to substantively support our school district. This initiative helps our teachers and parents by contributing to our children succeeding educationally, enabling them to read on grade level, graduate from high school on time, and go on to obtain and retain family sustaining employment as productive community residents,” said Philip A. Brown, President of United Way of Manatee County. “Education, access to affordable healthcare and remaining financially stable are priorities for our community. Please join your United Way as we urge our elected representatives to legislate and appropriate funds in ways that advance the common good of all of our residents so that they have an opportunity to learn, live healthfully, and earn a living.”
To find out more about United Way of Manatee County, please contact Angela Moore at (941) 748-1313.
If you have any questions about the consensus agenda, please contact Ted Granger at (850) 488-8276.