We envision a community where all children enter kindergarten ready to learn; and all children and youth learn, achieve, and succeed while engaging families and communities.
Children’s earliest experiences – before they even enter school – can determine their ability to succeed for the rest of their lives. Early access to quality education is essential to promoting their development and learning into the future.
We seek to support and improve access to resources focusing on the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and language development of children from birth through age 5, while also increasing the participation of their families and caregivers in their child’s learning. We also seek to support and improve access to quality and equitable childcare, resources focusing on reading and language development, increased knowledge of math and science, and interest in life-long learning for children and youth.
BOLD COMMUNITY GOALS
Increase the number of children who meet developmental milestones and enter kindergarten ready
Baseline: 2019/2020 School Year – 42.1% of children entered Kindergarten demonstrating readiness 2020/2021 School Year – 24.8% of children entered Kindergarten demonstrating readiness (Horry County Schools Report Card)
Increase access to equitable learning opportunities and high-quality childcare for children and youth
Our Challenges in Horry County:
- In the 2020/2021 school year, 75.2% of students enrolled in Kindergarten are NOT demonstrating readiness. screportcards.ed.sc.gov
- In the 2018/2019 school year, 53.3% of second-grade students were NOT on track for success in English Language Arts in the third grade. screportcards.ed.sc.gov
- In the 2021 UWHC Community Needs Assessment, 55% of participants expressed that there are NOT enough safe, affordable, and full-time places for children to go.
- Unequal summer learning opportunities during elementary school years are responsible for about two-thirds of the ninth-grade achievement gap between lower and higher-income youth. eric.ed.gov
- 43.1% of Horry County is considered a child care desert for children under five. South Carolina First Steps
Strategies to Achieve Our Vision:
- Programs that improve academic and developmental milestones for children from birth through age 5
- Programs that increase the involvement of families, caregivers, and the community in the success of children from birth through age 5
- Programs that improve access to equitable learning opportunities and childcare for children and youth
- Programs that reduce summer learning loss and chronic absenteeism
- Programs that improve the basic academic skills of children performing below grade level
- Programs that offer diverse and flexible educational options for a variety of learners
- Support local, state, and national efforts to increase availability and access to quality early childhood and pre-school programs
- Support community efforts to improve access to equitable learning opportunities and quality childcare for children and youth
- Collaborate with community, local, and state stakeholders to create a system for access and support resources and institutions that will promote and support the development of the whole child
- Collaborate with educational institutions and community-based agencies to exchange ideas, leverage resources, and drive collective action
- Conduct an educational campaign to promote parent engagement and leadership in early education for children from birth through age 5
- Conduct an educational campaign to highlight the importance of quality summer and afterschool programs and parent engagement and leadership in education
Read more about our Community Game Plan and how we plan to focus our programs, collective impact work, and investments to meet the needs of our community through our Bold Goals.
United Way of Horry County Programs to Support Education:
Camp United serves as a continuation of learning for students already enrolled in the Horry County Schools Pre-K program that are performing below readiness levels and are at most risk.
Camp United serves Daisy, Green Sea, and Loris Elementary schools, and Myrtle Beach Early Education; four schools with some of the highest rates of poverty and the lowest levels of kindergarten readiness in the county. This completely free program is funded by United Way of Horry County with the help of support from a grant from Tidelands Health and the Waccamaw Community Foundation.
Early Childhood Literacy
Through UWHC’s United to Read and Caring for Kindergarteners, volunteers from the community visit Horry County Schools’ kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. Every classroom is read a book and participates in an activity related to the book’s theme. These events promote the importance of early childhood literacy and volunteerism within Horry County. The students see the volunteers as mentors and enjoy the event just as much as the volunteers do.
We are proud to provide grants to the following local agencies to help promote development and learning in Horry County.