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Youth Literacy and Families

United Way works to end America’s education crisis

Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. 

United Way of Rockbridge's Work

United Way of Rockbridge funds the following agencies in their programs that focus on education:

  • Blue Ridge CASA for Children
    • For Lexington/Rockbridge Program Growth  -  Blue Ridge Court Appointed Special Advocates recruits, selects, trains, and supervises volunteers to advocate for children who have been victims of abuse or neglect. The goal is to find safe, permanent, and nurturing homes for these children.
  • Boxerwood Education Association
    • The K-2 program is the second step in a multi-step, multi-year Boxerwood curriculum focused on helping children develop the habits of mind and heart to become young citizens who make a difference for our world in conjunction with area schools.  Outdoor learning supports these youth development goals.  The staff-led immersive experiences in nature also expand life experiences, activate the senses, enrich vocabulary, awaken imagination, and provide a real-world context for science concepts encountered in the classroom.  Effectiveness of the program is measured quantitatively and qualitatively with the three area district schools and teachers. 
  • Campus Kitchen
    • Backpack Program  -  The goal is to diminish the meal gap that students eligible for free or reduced lunch experience on weekends. In 2017, nearly 750 students were served through this program.
    • Mobile Food Pantry  -  The program provides free produce and shelf-stable food items to individuals in the more remote parts of Rockbridge County, where transportation and access are prohibiting factors. Through partnerships with other local groups, the Mobile Food Pantry has also been able to begin providing healthcare information (courtesy of the Rockbridge Area Health Center), clothing and personal hygiene items (donated by the Lexington Women’s Club).
  • Rockbridge Area YMCA
    • Natural Bridge After School Program  - With a goal of having children be exposed to more experiential education, this program educates children in making healthier choices and involves working families to positively affect school attendance and overall wellbeing.
  • Rockbridge Regional Library
    • Youth Literacy Program  -  the Rockbridge Regional Library recruits and trains 55-60 reading tutors and provides them with resources needed to help 65-75 kindergarten through fifth-grade students succeed at learning to read. This program trains 23-30 new volunteers each year, purchases more than 60 magazine subscriptions, uses iPads, and maintains partnerships with reading resources teachers from local elementary schools. 
    • Born Learning  -  The Born Learning Get-Ready-For-Kindergarten project serves families with four and five year-olds throughout the library's service area with free kits that help families prepare their children with basic skills so they will be ready to learn in kindergarten. The goal is to distribute 150-200 kits in 2019. 
  • Yellow Brick Road Early Learning Center
    • Scholarship Program  -  Yellow Brick Road is a learning center that offers affordable care for children 6 weeks to preschool, with the added benefit of a sliding scare scholarship program based on family income. YBR is the only daycare center in the area that offers care for infants.
  • Rockbridge READS!
    • A Day In K  -  While especially for Pre-K children, all families with young children are invited to the free event that included an original video on kindergarten in our community, movies, and activities. Staff and teachers from Buena Vista, Lexington, and Rockbridge County schools participated along with the library’s bookmobile, a school bus to explore and police and fire departments to make the move into Kindergarten an exciting and anticipated experience.
    • Annual Children's Book Drive - Each fall, UWR conducts a children's book drive with participating businesses as drop-off points.  Books collected are given to partner agencies for distribution to local children infant to 3rd grade.  This past year over 1,600 books slightly used and new books were collected by Books & Co. Toys, Too; Cattlemen's Market; CornerStone Bank BV; Maury River Senior Center; Rockbridge Co. Extension Office/4H; Rockbridge Regional Library branches; Spencer Home Center; SpiritHorse Shenandoah Vally; Sweet Treats Bakery; The Bookery; and the YMCA.
    • Annual Christmas Basket Program - For the past four years, UWR has been purchasing books for the Annual Christmas Basket Program.  In 2019, 985 age appropriate new books were included for chidren in families receiving Christmas Baskets.  This program has been led by former UWR Board Member and Past Board President Bob Glidden.