United Way of Southwest Virginia establishes childhood success advisory council

Abingdon, VA (September 13, 2018) – United Way of Southwest Virginia held the first meeting of the Childhood Success Advisory Council on Wednesday, September 12.

The newly-formed Childhood Success Advisory Council is comprised of almost 30 members who represent a cross-section of business, industry, nonprofit, government, and academic professionals.

The Childhood Success Advisory Council will work with United Way’s Childhood Success staff members to tackle some of the region’s most complex issues. The council aims to increase the number of children with adequate pre-literacy skills by Kindergarten, increase the number of families with access to high quality childcare and child development, improve access to programs that benefit the health and well-being of young children, and increase the SOL pass rates of third graders in Virginia.

Travis Staton, president and CEO of United Way of Southwest Virginia, said, “We are bringing together Smart Beginnings coalition members, Campaign for Grade Level Reading planning members, and some new invitees to create the Childhood Success Advisory Council.  This new Advisory Council will continue the great work of Smart Beginnings while expanding its scope from prenatal to third grade, and aligning with United Way’s new Financial Empowerment and Youth Success Advisory Councils.”

Council member Patricia VanHoy, nursing manager for Mount Rogers Health District, said, “It’s exciting for me to be a part of a group that’s focused on creating lasting change in the region. I want to see our region’s children prosper, and I can’t think of another organization that’s pulling together people from all sectors to provide solutions like this.”

During the first meeting, the council reviewed findings from an early childhood risk and protective factor mapping report compiled by Virginia Tech for United Way of Southwest Virginia’s Childhood Success department. The council also discussed United Way’s current initiatives in Childhood Success, established work groups focused on specific areas of need, and discussed the addition of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to United Way’s initiatives through a partnership with the U.S. and Virginia Departments of Agriculture and the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation.

According to Uva Wright, manager of childhood success for United Way of Southwest Virginia, “The advisory council provides an opportunity for the ongoing exchange of information across all sectors to improve childhood outcomes. It takes all of us working together to fight for the success of Southwest Virginia’s children and their families.”

About United Way of Southwest Virginia
United Way of Southwest Virginia fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Southwest Virginia because they are the building blocks for a good quality of life. Through an initiative-based cradle-to-career approach, United Way of Southwest Virginia is creating sustainable solutions to address the challenges facing tomorrow’s workforce. United Way convenes cross-sector partners to make an impact on the most complex problems in our region. Through collaboration with government, business, nonprofit and individuals, United Way innovates for positive, lasting social change. With a footprint that covers nearly 17% of the state of Virginia, United Way of Southwest Virginia programs and initiatives serve the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Pulaski, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe, and the cities of Bristol, Galax, and Norton. For more information about United Way of Southwest Virginia, visit www.UnitedWaySWVA.org.