Rancho Cucamonga, CA (September 1, 2011) – With one in five children living in poverty and thousands of students dropping out of school each year in our community, it is clear that Inland Empire kids need our help. It is for that reason that Inland Empire United Way (IEUW) has launched Challenge for Children, a new campaign to recruit 1,000 volunteers and raise $100,000 for programs benefiting disadvantaged youth in the region.
For decades, United Way has been a leader in providing a safety-net for individuals in need both on a local and national level. Here in the Inland Empire, United Way operates several direct programs and provides funding to a network of strong local nonprofits in the areas of Education, Health and Financial Stability. But, as a result of a recent community needs assessment and strategic planning process, the agency has identified a need to increase their investment in the futures of youth in the region.
"We know that kids who succeed in school, succeed in life," said Gregory Bradbard, IEUW President & CEO. "With such a high rate of poverty in this area, we are committed to helping low-income children to excel academically and giving them the chance to reach a bright, independent future."
A centerpiece to Challenge for Children is the launch of Mentor Connection, a new initiative designed to increase the number of volunteer readers, tutors and mentors for local children. Research demonstrates that just one caring adult can help reduce drug and alcohol use and school drop-out, and improve confidence, social attitudes and the likelihood of attending college. Through United Way's HandsOn volunteer website, volunteers can browse mentoring opportunities throughout the region- including programs at Boys & Girls Clubs, CASA of San Bernardino, Mustard Seed Tutoring and Reach Out.
United Way has created an array of opportunities for involvement with the Challenge for Children to give virtually anyone the chance to help make a difference. Whether by giving time, making a donation or just telling other about the needs of youth in the Inland Empire, United Way is seeking additional community members to help support their efforts.
"With continued cuts to public programs, the needs are only increasing. This is a challenge for each of us to take a step toward helping to change the future for kids in our community," said Bradbard.
Funds donated toward the Challenge for Children's $100,000 goal will be invested in local services for children in low-income families. Specifically, contributions will help feed hungry children, provide classroom tools for success in low-income neighborhoods, mobilize mentors and tutors to provide support and guidance to disadvantaged children, and provide support to an array of other programs helping at-risk youth to succeed in school and in life.
For more information on the Challenge for Children or Inland Empire United Way's efforts in the community, contact Jamie Lamb at (909)980-2857x214.
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