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August 12, 2013
An update from Gordan Thibedeau, President & CEO of United Way of Larimer County
There is no denying it's back-to-school time. Kids and parents are soaking up the last days of summer vacation, and store shelves are stuffed with school supplies.
As many in our community are focused on starting another school year, United Way of Larimer County and more than 25 community partners have come together to help kids be prepared to succeed in school before they ever step into the classroom.
Be Ready is a public education campaign that encourages parents, caregivers and community members to fill children's lives with the experiences they need to succeed in school and life. School readiness is more than just learning the ABCs; it's also about being healthy, interacting with others, and being ready to learn.
Why is school readiness important?
Twenty-two percent of fourth-graders in Larimer County are not reading at grade level, and 17 percent of students do not graduate from high school on time. Many of these kids are not falling behind once they enter school; they are arriving to school already behind their peers.
Research shows that children who enter school ready to learn have more success in school, work and life, including higher literacy and high school graduation rates, and greater income and lower crime rates as adults.
Ninety percent of our brain's growth occurs in our first five years, so Be Ready is focused on those critically important first years from birth to age 5.
Some may wonder why United Way is concerned about school readiness. After all, we're not a child-care provider or educational institution.
United Way is involved in this important work because we're committed to creating opportunities for prosperity for all people in Larimer County.
We know that an investment in our young children through school readiness today is an investment in a strong community tomorrow. Addressing the needs of the children in our community today will determine our long-term success in reducing poverty and breaking the cycle of generational poverty.
And we know that it takes an entire community coming together to make real, lasting change. While parents and family members are a child's first teachers, the truth is that everyone can help to support young children.
There are not many investments that are as important to our future as a community and as a nation as a focus on early childhood development.
Together, we can build a culture of school readiness in Larimer County and dramatically influence the future of our community. Together, we can give children the tools needed for a successful life. Let's do it!
Copyright 2015 United Way of Larimer County