United Way of Central Kentucky Works to Reduce Poverty Through Education

Across our region too many children are entering kindergarten already behind, spending time alone after school, and lacking the positive influences needed to keep them on track in school and in life.

United Way of Central Kentucky’s model focuses on supportive communities, effective schools, and strong families, using strategies and approaches rooted in research.  Tackling the education challenge requires United Way to develop a continuum of supports that prevent children from slipping through the cracks and needing more serious and costly interventions in the future as adults.






Success Stories

“Our daughter was recently diagnosed with autism.  In this journey where there have been a lot of ‘no’s, closed doors, and wait lists, it’s been really nice to have the help of Cradle School.  I know there are a lot of families out there like us and we are so grateful to have this support.” –Hardin County parent

"I enrolled in the SPMS Career Pathway courses because I wanted to learn real life skills. I come from a single parent family of five. My mom works full-time, yet we can barely afford daily essentials. Before entering this after school program, my plan was to get through high school and just get a job. I had no real plan for my future. In fact, I always thought it would be impossible to go to college. This program helped me realize that there is an opportunity to have a career in a field that I love and earn enough money to support me and my family in the future. This program taught me basic skills that I can use now, and later in my life. I now know that there are many career opportunities available to me! I would never have had a chance to experience this if I had not enrolled in the Career Pathways Program at SPMS. Now I am excited about entering high school and have a great plan for my future!" -Mackenzie, Meade County

An Elizabethtown High School student, began coming to Panther Place in the third grade. He is now one of the best student assistants that Panther Place has ever had. Jace and his siblings are being raised by their grandmother, who credits the program with keeping them on track in school. “There’s just something about the program at Panther Place that changes lives. We teach the kids to be responsible, cooperative, and kind. I feel fulfilled that I am doing something for the community and it feels good to give back and brighten their day. In the future, I plan to become a psychologist and work with young children.” -Jace McCall

United Way Born Learning Academies

United Way strives to meet parents where they are. That’s the philosophy of the 7 United Way Born Learning Academies available throughout our region to provide caregivers with free opportunities to help prepare their children for success in school.  Learn more and find your local Academy here.





Supporting Community Early Childhood Councils

UWCK works in partnership with the Kentucky Governor’s Office of Early Childhood and local Community Early Childhood Councils to improve access to quality childcare and engage parents in their children’s learning. Over the past 3 years, UWCK has contributed to collaborative grant initiatives that brought over $80,000 in funding to our community. Find out about your local Early Childhood Council:

Grayson County CECC
Contact: Barbara Allen

Contact: Sarah Hornback

Meade CECC
Contact: Amanda Richardson

Hardin CECC
Contact: Kathy King


AmeriCorps VISTA Education Projects

Through UWCK’s AmeriCorps VISTA Program, 3 full-time members are advancing educational projects in partnership with the following agencies:

Hardin County Schools’ Preschool Program

Hardin County Community Early Childhood Council




Funded Programs

In 2016-2017 UWCK invested over $270,000 in programs that provide early learning opportunities, supportive relationships, an educational experiences for at-risk children.

  • LaRue Co Schools- Kids Crew Plus: $22,500
  • Breck Co Schools- School Readiness: $9,000
  • Breck-Grayson Programs- Education; $5,060
  • Grayson Co Schools- Clarkson: $3,000
  • Grayson Co Schools- GCHS/Lawler FRYSC: $5,400
  • Hardin Co Schools- First Connections: $50,000
  • BBBS- Community-Based Mentoring: $43,000
  • BBBS- Site-Based Mentoring: $7,000
  • Etown Schools- Panther Place: $30,000
  • Tri-County CASA: $25,000
  • CASA of the Heartland: $50,000
  • Boy Scouts- Champions: $5,000
  • Meade Activity Center- REC League After School Program: $8,000
  • Meade Co Schools- Kindergarten Readiness 101: $8,000