News

FedEx delivers hope to two local Rockford public schools

111014-FedExCares

(Rockford, Ill. - 11/10/2014) – Over 300 books were delivered by FedEx staff last Friday to students in Beyer and King Elementary Schools in Rockford Public Schools District 205. The books were collected among employees from Rockford's three FedEx operations as part of their FedEx Cares United Way Campaign. The nationwide campaign runs through November 21 and encourages FedEx team members to bring hope to their communities.

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley advances the common good in Winnebago and Ogle counties, creating opportunities for a better life by focusing on education, income, and health. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.

Holiday Book Drive supports young readers in United Way I READ school locations

Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive

Reading mentor Karen Osolin speaks to the media about her role with I READ during today's announcement

(Rockford, Ill. - 11/05/2014) – Barnes & Noble and United Way of Rock River Valley are teaming up this holiday season for a drive to provide books to student throughout Winnebago and Ogle counties. During the months of November and December, Barnes & Noble at Cherryvale Mall will ask customers to purchase a book for young readers that will be sorted and distributed to Harlem, Oregon, and Rockford public schools, which participate in United Way's early-grade reading program, I READ. Last year, 4,400 books were distributed to students.

"Giving a book to a child from infant through high school is making a difference in literacy. For some children it is the only gift they receive during the holiday season," says Sherry Zabikow, Community Relations Manager, Barnes & Noble.

Every November, Barnes & Noble stores across the country collect books through its two-month holiday book drive, which benefits children in need, and each store location selects its own local recipient group. This year, Barnes & Noble at Cherryvale Mall once again chose United Way for its work in early-grade reading through the United Way I READ program. United Way I READ matches reading mentors with kindergarten students that need additional support as identified by the school, and assists teachers in preparing those students to read proficiently by fourth grade. Volunteers meet with their students weekly for 20 minutes during the school day and are encouraged to follow them through third grade. In its fourth year, approximately 350 kindergarten through third grade students at 18 schools in Harlem, Oregon, and Rockford school districts connect with reading mentors, resulting in the largest children's literacy mentoring program in our community.

"Children generally are learning to read until third grade. By fourth grade, they should be reading to learn because coursework increases and reading becomes more challenging. Students who do not read at grade level find it increasingly difficult to keep up," says Tonya Thayer Meyer, Volunteer Coordinator, United Way of Rock River Valley.

United Way's early-grade reading program focuses on children at the kindergarten to third grade level. Customers are encouraged to purchase English and bilingual book titles for children through third grade. The Holiday Book Drive runs through December 31, 2014.

For more information on the Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive, contact Sherry Zabikow, Community Relations Manager, by calling 815-332-3069. For more information on United Way's I READ program or to volunteer, call Tonya Thayer Meyer, Volunteer Coordinator, at 815-968-5400

 

Multimedia: Click to watch a video of the announcement


 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley advances the common good in Winnebago and Ogle counties, creating opportunities for a better life by focusing on education, income, and health. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.

October School Readiness Book Title: David Gets in Trouble

David Gets In Trouble

(Rockford, Ill. - 10/09/2014) – This month, over 4,000 pre-k students will receive David Gets in Trouble as part of October's book title for Success By 6® Page Turner Reading Program. The book is part of United Way's school readiness focus that helps children birth to age 6 learn, grow, and enter kindergarten ready to succeed.

In David Gets in Trouble, David always comes up with an excuse when he finds himself in trouble. Soon though, David realizes that making excuses makes him feel bad, and saying "sorry" makes him feel better. Written by David Shannon, this book teaches children the importance of apologizing when they do something to get in trouble.

Each month during the school year, pre-k children receive their very own age-appropriate book selected by early childhood specialists. Children begin to build their personal libraries and parents receive tips on ways to engage their young child in learning at home. Teachers also incorporate activities developed around each book title into their classroom curriculum. Books and materials are provided for English- and Spanish-speaking families.

The Page Turner Reading Program, in partnership with City of Rockford Head Start, The Diocese of Rockford, Harlem School District #122, Kreative K, Montessori and Rockford Public Schools District #205, assists pre-school teachers in developing pre-literacy skills essential for kindergarten readiness. Since the majority of brain development occurs between birth and age five, quality early learning and care programs have a profound impact on lifelong success and support cognitive, social and emotional development.

For more information on United Way's Success By 6® Page Turner Reading Program or its work in school readiness, contact Linda Sandquist by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 815-968-5400.

 

Additional Resources:

English Parent Piece

Spanish Parent Piece

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley advances the common good in Winnebago and Ogle counties, creating opportunities for a better life by focusing on education, income, and health. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.

United Way 2-1-1 Third Quarter 2014 Report now available for download

United Way 211 Third Quarter Report

(Rockford, Ill. - 10/31/2014) – The United Way 2-1-1 Quarterly Report for Third Quarter 2014 is now available to download. The quarterly report contains information for both Ogle and Winnebago counties during the period of July 2014 - September 2014.

Quick Stats:

  • 944 total calls received between July - September (a 10% increase from Third Quarter)
  • 1,789 total service referrals between July - September
  • Rent and Utility Assistance accounted for 23 percent of all service requests
  • Top unmet need: Free School Supplies (25% of unmet needs)
  • Catholic Charities accounted for 11 percent of service referrals


Download Report >

 

United Way 2-1-1, available 24/7, is an easy to remember three-digit telephone number that connects individuals in Winnebago and Ogle counties with important services and volunteer opportunities. Launched in August 2012, the 2-1-1 phone system offers free information and referrals on a broad range of services, including utility assistance, affordable housing, health resources, job training programs, and Winnebago County government services. All calls are free and confidential and the 2-1-1 network supports multiple languages including Spanish and Manadarin Chinese. For emergency services, callers should call 911.

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Nation’s only daily walking school bus celebrates International Walk to School Day

Rockford Walking School Bus Program

Program Coordinator Denice Smith leads students on the walking bus to Lewis Lemon Elementary School.

 

(Rockford, Ill. - 10/08/2014) – Members of the Rockford Walking School Bus program held festivities for neighborhood families this morning in celebration of International Walk to School Day. The program, which is the only daily, adult-supervised walking school bus in the country, provides a safe-walking passage for students attending Lewis Lemon Elementary School, and enables children to incorporate regular physical activity into their lifestyle. Officials also announced plans for a second walking school bus route in Rockford Public Schools District #205 at Ellis Elementary School.

"We are thrilled to be able to strengthen our community by helping to promote healthier lifestyles and safer streets for our youth," says Tabatha Endres-Cruz, Executive Director, Community Outreach YMCA of Rock River Valley.

In the U.S., International Walk to School Day (www.walktoschool.org) began in 1997 and is expected to include more than 4,000 events across all 50 states. Walkers from the U.S. will join children and adults in 40 countries around the world. Walk to School events work to create safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, concern for the environment and building connections between families, schools and the broader community.

Now in its second year, the Rockford Walking School Bus program was designed to provide children within a mile and half of Lewis Lemon School a safe route to school, and to cut truancy and tardiness rates. In its first year, the program decreased tardiness by 52% among participating students in first grade – fifth grade. Program staff also has begun to incorporate what is being taught in the school into their daily discussions along the route.

"The Rockford Walking School Bus has brought the community closer. Residents will make an extra effort to clear snow in front of abandoned homes and they keep an eye out for anything unusual along the route. There is nothing like children to change the mind of an adult, especially parents," says Endres-Cruz.

The Rockford Walking School Bus program is a partnership between the Rockford Housing Authority, United Way of Rock River Valley, Winnebago County Health Department, YMCA of Rock River Valley, and Youth Services Network. The route begins at Rockford Housing Authority's Fairgrounds Valley, and heads west through local neighborhoods to Lewis Lemon Elementary School. The program is also part of United Way's new Strong Neighborhoods initiative, which is a place-based strategy to improve the quality of life for children and families living in Ellis Heights and Midtown District neighborhoods, because strong neighborhoods make a strong community.

"Our community challenges are deep but no matter the amount of obstacles, every neighborhood has existing strengths and assets," said Paul A. Logli, CEO/President, United Way of Rock River Valley. "Working alongside neighborhood leaders, good parents, wise grandparents, dedicated teachers, and local businesses, United Way will build upon those existing assets in the neighborhoods."

For more information on Rockford's Walking School Bus program, contact Tabatha Endres-Cruz, Executive Director, Community Outreach YMCA of Rock River Valley by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . For more information on United Way's Strong Neighborhood initiative, contact Linda Sandquist, Vice President of United Way of Rock River Valley, by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley advances the common good in Winnebago and Ogle counties, creating opportunities for a better life by focusing on education, income, and health. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change.