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:

Read Tutor Mentor

Through Read Tutor Mentor caring volunteers working with students of all ages have the power to help kids boost academic achievement and put young people on track for a bright future. There are over 100 children in our community on a waiting list to be paired with someone willing to invest their time in them. Whether you want to volunteer one day, one time, or make a long-term commitment, there are several programs in our community with kids who need you! You can choose to read to a class, read one-on-one with a child who is struggling, help a child with their school work, or just spend time with a child and serve as a positive role model in their life. Contact us to learn more about the local organizations who need you!

Funded Programs

In 2018-2019 United Way of Central Kentucky invested over $238,310 in programs that provide early learning opportunities, supportive relationships, and educational experiences for at-risk children.

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters: $50,000 to provide supportive mentoring relationships to at-risk children.
  • Breckinridge County Schools’ Preschool Program: $5,000 to help preschoolers enter kindergarten ready to learn, support after-school vocational training for middle-schoolers, and to provide career opportunities for special needs students.
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the Heartland: $50,000 to provide abused and neglected children in the Hardin County court system with trained volunteer mentors who advocate for their best interests and help them find safe, permanent, and loving homes.
  • Elizabethtown Independent Schools’ Panther Place After School Program: $34,000 to provide at-risk students with homework assistance, educational enrichment, physical activities, and family events at Panther Place After-School Program.
  • Grayson County Schools: $6,000 to support United Way Born Learning Academies which engage parents in improving school readiness.
  • Hardin County Schools First Connections: $50,000 to prepare children for kindergarten, conduct educational home visits, and keep teen parents on track to graduate through the First Connections program.
  • Meade County Schools: $10,810 to preschoolers enter kindergarden ready to learn and to support after-school vocational training for middle-schoolers.
  • Mission Hope For Kids: $10,000 to provide an enriching after-school environment for at-risk students.
  • Tri-County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA): $22,500 to provide abused and neglected children in the Breckinridge, Grayson, and Meade County court system with trained volunteer mentors who advocate for their best interests and help them find safe, permanent, and loving homes.