Business Report: United Way Increasing Focus on Education - Friday, January 07, 2011
Following two years of research and planning, the Capital Area United Way hopes to unveil a comprehensive, 10-parish early childhood development program this summer, CAUW President/CEO Karen Profita says. Meetings with stakeholders in education, business, government and nonprofit communities will begin this month to nail down program specifics. The meetings follow a year in which CAUW officials sat down with 100 area CEOs to get their support and input, Profita says. "It's about bringing people together who can make a difference and asking them, 'What kind of program can you get behind?' This is going to be a 10-year effort, and it will be about having markers to measure our impact," Profita says.
The early childhood development program is one component of a broader, increased focus on aiding education efforts in the Capital Region, Profita says. CAUW has also helped bring the Imagination Library program to three parishes, and hopes to expand it to all 10 parishes in its service region. The early childhood literacy program provides one book a month to children 5 and under at no cost. More than 250 children have been enrolled in St. Helena, West Feliciana and Ascension parishes thus far, Profita says, thanks to contributions from Entergy, Turner Industries, Amerchol and the City of Greensburg. "We'd love to have this in all 10 parishes, but we need to know we have the support first," Profita says.
The third component of CAUW's increased focus on education involves compiling groups of volunteers to get more engaged with area school boards, Profita says. That initiative is still in the planning stages. —Steve Sanoski