News

Middle-school students illustrate their aspirations for a strong neighborhood

Doors of Opportunity

(Rockford, Ill. - 06/19/2015) – Middle-school students from Ellis Heights and Midtown District neighborhoods expressed their aspirations for a strong neighborhood through art projects during a two-day Youth Action Summit as part of United Way of Rock River Valley's annual Day of Action activities. The workshop is part of a global United Way Day of Action, which brings people together to LIVE UNITED and take action to address a variety of challenges in their communities.

United Way, in collaboration with Northwest Community Center, Patriot's Gateway Community Center, Rockford Area Arts Council and Youth Build, provided local students with a safe and healthy forum to discuss challenges in their neighborhoods and to share aspirations for a strong neighborhood. Students were encouraged to paint, draw, and write the things they would like to change in their community and then to decorate a door with their illustrations. The final art project, entitled "Doors of Opportunity", will be on display at Rockford Art Museum June 22 – August 24.

"These doors represent how young people view the future of their neighborhood," says Ashley Burks, United Way Community Impact Manager. "What we see is that some kids want a community free of violence and alcohol. Others see a community free of drugs. Really, what we're seeing is a lot of children want a community that is united and for people to get along with one another."

The Youth Action Summit is a direct result of United Way's Strong Neighborhoods initiative, which identified the need to create more youth empowerment opportunities. The "Doors of Opportunity" exhibit symbolizes the possibilities that young people bring to the progression of their community. The public is invited to visit the exhibit at Rockford Art Museum, June 22 – August 24, and to share their own aspiration for a strong neighborhood using this template.

Visit United Way Day of Action to learn more.


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.

May School Readiness Book: Creature-filled extravaganza informs and entertains curious little bug lovers

Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!

(Rockford, Ill. - 05/28/2015) – This month, over 4,000 pre-k students received Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!/¡Insectos! ¡Insectos! as part of May'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.

Buzzing bees, fuzzy caterpillars, hopping grasshoppers, fluttering butterflies, and curly, roly-poly bugs fairly bounce off the pages in Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!/¡Insectos! ¡Insectos! Author Bob Barner delivers this creature-filled extravaganza, which pairs a delightful, nonsense rhyme with bold, full-color collage illustrations, to inform and entertain curious little bug lovers everywhere.

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 activities on each book to engage their young child in learning at home. Teachers also incorporate curriculum developed around each book title into their classroom. 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.

April School Readiness Book: Experience the wonder of the ocean through rhyming text and realistic illustrations

Hello Ocean

Ronald Welte, a delegate of Rockford United Labor, helps introduce April's School Readiness book to pre-k students at Summerdale Early Childhood Center.
 

(Rockford, Ill. - 04/27/2015) – This month, over 4,000 pre-k students received Hello Ocean/Hola Mar as part of April'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.

Sparkling, evocative illustrations and joyful text describe a young girl's journey of discovery as she uncovers the secrets of the sea using each of her five senses. In Hello Ocean/Hola Mar author Pam Muñoz Ryan and illustrator Mark Astrella use great imagery to emphasize the differences between the five senses and incorporate literary elements such as alliteration, metaphors, and rhyme and rhythm.

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 activities on each book to engage their young child in learning at home. Teachers also incorporate curriculum developed around each book title into their classroom. 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.

Home security upgrades for Midtown residents restore sense of safety in neighborhood

Lights and Locks

Tim Watkins, Project First Rate, explains to Deb Nicholson, Nicholson Hardware, and Ashley Burks, United Way of Rock River Valley, the installation process of motion-censored lights for the Lights and Locks program.
 

(Rockford, Ill. - 05/01/2015) – Several residents in Midtown District will receive security upgrades to their homes this summer to restore a sense of safety in the neighborhood. The Lights and Lock program, a collaboration between United Way of Rock River Valley, Nicholson Hardware and Project First Rate, will provide motion-censored lights and secure locks for 10 homes in Midtown. Contractors and electricians with Project First Rate will work together with residents to install the upgrades.

Lights and Locks program is a direct response to needs discovered through United Way's Strong Neighborhoods initiative, which will dramatically improve the quality of life for children and families in two of the region's most challenged neighborhoods. Residents acknowledged well-lit and secure homes help reduce crime and increase pride of the neighborhood.

For more information on United Way's Strong Neighborhoods initiative, contact community impact managers Ashley Burks or Mathew Simpson by calling 815-968-5400.
 


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.

Chicago Bears support recovery efforts in Northern Illinois

Chicago Bears Fairdale

(Rockford, Ill. - 04/24/2015) – The Chicago Bears have announced that the team will make a $100,000 donation to United Way of Rock River Valley to assist in recovery efforts and aid those affected following the tornadoes that devastated areas of northern Illinois on April 9, 2015.

Additionally, Bears players Blake Annen and Will Sutton assisted AmeriCorps St. Louis with debris clean-up in Fairdale before visiting the Kirkland Fire Department to meet with local residents and first responders.

United Way of Rock River Valley collaborated with Kishwaukee United Way, United Way of Boone County and United Way of Lee County to create the Northern Illinois Disaster Relief Fund in response to this month's severe storms. Funds will be distributed without administrative fees to agencies in Boone, DeKalb, Lee, Ogle, and Winnebago counties working on tornado relief efforts. Individuals may contribute specifically to the long-term recovery needs of the communities devastated by the tornadoes in two ways:

TEXT the phrase HELP15 to 41444
• Donate online using this secured mobile-friendly form

 


 Chicago Bears Media Contact: Matt Simeone, Director of Community & Alumni Relations; Mike Corbo, Media Relations Coordinator | (847) 295-6600

 

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.