United Way of West TN establishes Office of Childhood Success

JACKSON, Tenn. — United Way of West Tennessee announces its current education initiatives have been merged under an umbrella called the Office of Childhood Success.

According to a press release, the classification was created to emphasize the organization’s increased support in the areas of early childhood development and educational programming across the region.

Matt Marshall, President and CEO of United Way of West Tennessee, says they have identified four benchmarks for childhood success.

“Those are Kindergarten Readiness, Third-Grade Math and Reading Proficiency, Middle School Leadership Development, and High School Graduation,” Marshall said.

The release says United Way programs designed to help West Tennessee children meet these benchmarks include:

  • Bright Start West TN
    • A regional initiative in partnership with Tennesseans for Quality Early Education to accelerate early learning outcomes and close achievement and opportunity gaps for Tennessee children from birth through 3rd grade.
  • Handle With Care
    • A partnership with TBI and local law enforcement to provide heads-up notifications to school administrators of traumatic events that students experience outside the classroom.
  • The READ Team
    • A program that recruits volunteers through local churches to provide literary assistance to 2nd graders, and also provides access to free books through their mobile library and WOW Wagon.
  • West TN Afterschool Network
    • To help ensure children and families have safe and nurturing afterschool experiences through advocacy and community support.
  • Mentor U
    • A partnership of the five higher education institutes in Jackson that works to provide mentorship and college exposure to local middle schoolers.

“Positive childhood development is central to our community’s ability to succeed in the future,” Marshall stated. “We want to help ensure that every child in West Tennessee is given the opportunities to grow holistically.”

According to the release, United Way’s Director of Early Education Initiatives, Olivia Abernathy, will make an announcement later this month regarding Bright Start West TN. The announcement will focus on the initiative’s strategic plan for aiding access to high-quality child care and providing wrap-around support to families, as well as increasing access to health and behavioral services.

Community leaders are invited to attend the announcement at 8:30 a.m. on January 27, where additional programming to come from the Office of Childhood Success will also be unveiled. It will take place at the TDOT Region 4 Auditorium at 300 Benchmark Place in Jackson.

Click here to learn more about United Way of West Tennessee.

For more news in the Jackson area, click here.

Categories: Local News, Madison County, News