United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) collected and distributed over 33,000 books across the region to thousands of children from birth to age five, since 2016. This is a part of our early literacy program called United2Read, which provides books and reading kits to families so caregivers and guardians can do stimulating learning activities with their children.
Only 37% of children are reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade.
UWWP reassessed the book distribution aspect of United2Read and decided to have a higher level of impact by serving specific communities of children with more frequent distribution of reading kits than to disperse the books to a greater population less often.
United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) supports initiatives that help each member of our community thrive. Our strategy focuses on helping children and their families break the trend of intergenerational poverty by supporting childhood literacy growth.
Studies indicate that the key to a child’s long-term success is to help kids prepare to start school and ensure that they read on grade level by the end of third grade. Children reading on grade level are more likely to escape the inheritance of poverty.
A core part of United Way’s message to caregivers and educators is that a child’s development before they arrive at kindergarten affects their future. Birth to three constitutes a period when 80% of brain development takes place. The period of time between birth and age five determines how ready a child is to learn in kindergarten. Because of differences in reading habits during this time, disparities in learning readiness are dramatic.
Key to a child’s long term success is being able to read on level by the end of 3rd grade.
Year Round Distribution of Reading Kits for Children 0-5
United Way has increased the impact and book distribution methodology of our United2Read program. To have a higher level of impact we are serving specific communities of children with more frequent reading kits distributions, rather than the previous one-time book-gifting event. We have started in Peekskill, Ossining and Elmsford, and plan to expand the program to Yonkers, White Plains, New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, Mount Kisco, and Port Chester.
In order to deepen our impact and to expand to more school districts, United Way has developed partnerships with school districts as well as three region-wide institutions: the Westchester Library System, Head Start, and the Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson. These partners are working with United Way in book collection, reading kit assembly and distribution to help get more books into the hands of children and caregivers in our target communities.
These nonprofits and schools have participated in our in-kind United 2 Read Program.
Andrus (Julia Dyckman Andrus Memorial, Inc.) MV Steam Academy – A.B. Davis Middle School PTA
Autism Project – Flos, Inc. New Rochelle Affordable Housing, Inc.
Beholdashae, Inc. Ossining Union Free School District
Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon NY, Inc. Peekskill City School District
Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster Port Chester Community Gardens
Child Care Council of Westchester, Inc. PS Charity Inc
Choice of New York Putnam Head Start (WestCOP)
Coachman Family Center (Westhab) Soup Angels
Community Builders, Inc. St. Andrews Memorial Church, Iglesia Memorial De San Andres
Easter Seals Tarrytown Community Opportunity Center (WestCOP)
God Bless You All Inc Temple of Restoration Apostolic House Inc. (TORAH)
Greater Centennial A.M.E. Zion Church The Sharing Shelf
Greater Hudson Valley NY Chapter of the Links, Incorporated Thomas H. Slater Center Inc.
Greenburgh Health Center, Inc. (Mt. Vernon Neighborhood Health) United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region
The Guidance Center of Westchester Victims Assistance Services (WestCOP)
Hearts & Homes for Refugees We Prosper Family Organization
JCY-Westchester Community Partners (FSSY) Westchester Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Nonviolence
The Jewish Board WestCOP – Port Chester Head Start
Life Progressive Services Group Inc. WJCS
Lois Bronz Children’s Center (Union Child Daycare Center) WMC Caregiver Center
The Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry Worldwide Veterans and Family Services Inc.
Mount Vernon Community Action Group (WestCOP) Yonkers Community Action Program, Inc.
Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers (MHACY) YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester (Residence)