Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them. – Lady Bird Johnson
An inspiring quote and an even more important reminder: We must work as a community to help children reach their full potential. Recently, at our State of the Children News Conference, we announced the findings of the first-ever Child Well-Being Index. Through the Index, we revealed that nearly half a million children in the Greater Atlanta region live in communities with low child well-being. That’s not acceptable.
United Way of Greater Atlanta and our partners are focusing on ensuring every child has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. Communities that can say, “All the children are well” have babies born healthy, kids who read proficiently by 3rd grade and teens who graduate from high school ready for college and careers. These are kids that grow up in communities where people are educated, employed, and housed.
We are faced with a challenge, but if we use the data to clarify the issue, align our efforts and create a mindset of collective action, we can move the needle. Our goals are big and they will take each and every one of us to reach them.
By 2027, we are committed to:
- Improve the well-being of 250,000 children
- Improve the regional child well-being score from 58.9 to 68.9
We’re convening partners from every sector to work collaboratively on aligned efforts and build on the success of existing impact models – like the United Way’s Regional Commission on Homelessness, which played a significant role in reducing homelessness in Greater Atlanta by 61% over five years. And last but not least, we will need to generate new investments that accelerate and scale successful programs and innovation.
In addition, there is an extremely important role to be played by ordinary Atlanta residents in the child well-being movement. We will need to increase volunteerism threefold: from 16,000 to 48,000 volunteers and from 50,000 volunteer hours to 150,000 volunteer hours – collectively, across our partnership.
Child well-being is about providing the best life for children, no matter what zip code they live in. Our children need not only a guarantee of the basic needs like a roof over their heads, but they also deserve a promise that their families and community will provide them with the opportunities, resources and social supports needed to reach their fullest potential. We need the help of everyone in the community – whether that be donations, volunteerism or advocacy – to really move the needle for our children. That is the United Way.
To view the State of the Children News Conference on Facebook, click here. And join our movement by sharing your story using #StartHere to keep the conversation going about improving child, family and community well-being. You can also learn how to get involved by visiting our website.