To grow our region, we have to focus on our young people. Women United is a group of caring women who are dedicated to make the Quad Cities the best place for kids to grow up.
Since 2011, nearly 200 Women United investors have raised and invested nearly $5.5 million in research-based strategies to support quality child care and early learning experiences for our youngest Quad Citizens. They have invested in quality child care opportunities for families, and education and retention of child care providers in the Quad Cities.
Why Get Involved?
- 1 in 6 kids in the Quad Cities start kindergarten without the skills needed to succeed.
- A child who is not ready for kindergarten is twice as likely not to be ready at grade-level by third grade.
- Third grade is a pivotal point; if you fall behind, chances are you may stay there the rest of your life.
- Students unable to read at grade level by the end of third grade are 4X more likely to drop out of high school.
- Opportunity and achievement gaps are particularly pronounced for low-income and minority students.
- Raised $2.5 million toward the building of the new Scott County Family YMCA Learning Center in downtown Davenport.
- Invested $275,000 to improve local child care and education facilities and support training and professional development for local providers.
- More than 950 local children and families have graduated from Born Learning Academies that have been hosted by 22 Quad Cities organizations.
- 1,000 families receive a minimum of 3 text messages a week with activities and tips for turning everyday moments into teaching moments.
- 90,000 Born Learning calendars have been distributed since 2015, with 365 days of activities for parents to do with their children.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Lend your voice to our outreach and education efforts and engage elected leaders around issues that improve children’s health and development, including affordable, quality child care for families of all income levels.
Participate in hands-on activities, including reading with kids in the critical year before kindergarten, assisting families at Born Learning Academies, building literacy kits to improve students’ reading skills, donating books and more.
Virtual Book Drives – Volunteers collect books via an Amazon Wish list at unitedwayqc.org/bookdrive to give to kids in need in the Quad Cities. Donate a book or two and have them shipped directly to United Way. It’s as easy at that! Email Amy Daniels for more information or call 563.344.0344.
Born Learning Academies consist of a series of six free virtual parent workshops. The academies are an imitative of our Women United donor network and are designed to help parents prepare their children for success.
> Learn more.
Get support to get your student back on track in school through Quad Cities Tutor Connection, an easy-to-access tutor connecting site for parents with students in grades K-12. The program was launched during the COVID pandemic to help students deal with the unprecedented learning environment.
> Learn more.
Women United worked together with two foundation partners to help child care providers “Keep the Lights On” when they needed it most during the pandemic. Our efforts included:
- Providing cleaning supplies to local child care centers and family child care homes. This investment allowed child care providers to continue to meeting health and safety measures which are causing strains on their budgets.
- In early 2021, a competitive grant process was launched to ensure child care providers across the Quad Cities can cover fixed costs like rent, retain staff, pay for additional cleaning supplies, and utilities. In total, $112,000 was invested in local child care centers and school-age programs through a volunteer driven investment process.
Kindergarten Skills Inventory
According to local kindergarten teachers, 1 in 6 Quad Cities children were not ready to learn on their first day of school.
10 Things Your Child Needs to Know Before Kindergarten
A group of Quad Cities kindergarten teachers put together this list. Is your child ready for kindergarten?
1. Does your child have patience?
- Play freeze tag.
- Give a small treat to the child who can sit still the longest.
- Teach your child how to walk up to pets.
2. Does your child share with others?
- Play board or card games.
- Get two different ice cream cones, and then ask to trade a bite for a bite.
- Color in a picture together using only two or three crayons.
3. Can your child talk about thoughts and feelings?
When your child is upset, sit in a chair snuggling with him or her. Ask how he or she feels and listen to the answer.
When watching TV together, ask questions likes: Why do you think the little girl is crying?
At bedtime, have your child list three things that happened that day the made him or her happy.
4. Can your child get dressed, put on a coat, and use a bathroom, without help?
- Play dress-up together.
- Pull a zipper off an old pair of pants and have the children practice with it.
- Let your child get dressed and undressed by him or herself - as much as he or she can do without help.
5. Does your child do well in new situations?
- Try new places such as: parks and playgrounds, farmers' markets, window shopping at the mall, and pet stores.
6. Does your child play in groups?
- Have a three-legged race.
- Get two children to hold a towel between them and then get them to bounce a ball in the middle.
- Play pretend with your child. Today, I am a lion. What are you?
7. Can your child hold a pencil and use scissors?
- Get a pair of child's safety scissors.
- If they have trouble cutting paper at first, give them clay or play dough to cut.
- Color a picture together.
- Play Tic-Tac-Toe.
8. Can your child figure out ways to solve problems?
- Play I Spy or Hot & Cold.
- Give your child an empty cereal box and ask him or her to make it flat.
- Twist two pipe cleaners together in a knot and work with your child to untangle them.
9. Does your child explore the world and ask questions?
- Ask questions yourself. What color and shape is that sign? Why do cars have wheels?
- Halfway through a book, ask your child what he or she thinks is going to happen next.
- When your child asks a question you don't know the answer to, look up the answer together.
10. Does your child like to listen to stories?
- Read to your child, every day, starting from birth.
1,000 Books Before Kindergarten
Quad Cities libraries are challenging parents to read 1,000 books to their children, and Women United is helping to spread the word. Here’s how it works: Read 1,000 books to your newborn, infant and/or toddler before kindergarten. When you read just 1 book a night, you will have read 365 books in a year and can read 1,095 books in just three years.
The result? Your child will enter kindergarten ready to succeed in school — greatly increasing their chances of graduating high school ready for college or career.
This self-paced program allows you to decide how often and how long you read, and lets you and your child celebrate milestones along the way as you make progress towards 1,000 books! Learn more:
Women United invites you to join a group of caring women dedicated to improving the lives of our youngest Quad Citizens.
The Founding Members of Women United (in bold) are a group of dynamic women who were the trailblazers behind this movement to improve the lives and circumstances of children in the Quad Cities.
This entire list of women, from all over our region, banded together around a shared belief that all children deserve quality child care and early learning opportunities. They dedicated themselves to raising revenue, awareness and public support for the following ambitious first projects: construction of a state-of-the-art YMCA Early Learning Center in downtown Davenport and capacity building for early learning centers to increase quality. This investment also included teacher training and center improvements. We will forever be grateful to these visionaries for their leadership!
The following Women United investors have made the commitment of $2,500 or more to this initiative.
Naurin Ahmad, M.D.
4 Anonymous, 2 Deceased