United for Children

The mission of United for Children is to lead a collective regional effort in LaPorte, Lake, and Porter Counties to promote education, improve literacy, and prepare future graduates for success by fostering collaboration among civic and business leaders, educators and parents, non-profits, and faith based organizations. Our goal is for all children in Northwest Indiana are prepared and ready to learn and succeed in school.

United for Children initiatives in LaPorte County include:

Success By 6

United Way Success By 6 logo
Success By 6 is United Way's early learning community impact initiative that helps prepare our youngest children for learning when they get to school.

The project pursues multiple strategies including public awareness, parent education, increasing quality childcare, and increasing public access to services like health care and literacy to galvanize communities to help young children come to school ready to succeed. Success By 6 is the nation’s largest network of early childhood coalitions.

Quality early learning experiences for all children are critical to a community’s economic success, a key driver of school readiness – and vital to improving high school graduation rates. Studies show that children entering kindergarten with the cognitive, social, and emotional skills necessary for success are more likely to graduate high school.

That’s because a child’s early years, from birth until school age, are a unique period of growth and development: learning to walk and talk, beginning to think independently, understanding how to communicate and learning to control thoughts and emotions. All of those are critical early learning skills that build a foundation for successful future learning.

Key objectives for 2016 include:
  • Promoting quality child care and education
  • Promoting kindergarten readiness
  • Promoting public awareness and engagement
  • Promoting a compelling case that positions early childhood education as an economic investment opportunity

United Way Kindergarten Countdown Camps

The four-week, half-day summer camps are taught by veteran kindergarten teachers, who receive stipends. The previously approved curriculum, Fundations by Wilson Reading and Leveled Literacy Intervention Kit by Fountas and Pinnel, are based on a proven scholastic model and includes activities encompassing basic classroom skills; introduction to colors, numbers and alphabet; and other experiences that prepare children for academic success. Children receive a donated book for each day they attend the camp.

The camps focus on essential academic and socialization skills and are taught by experienced kindergarten teachers. Students receive lunch while attending the program.

United Way donor and local business contributions along with a grant from the Indiana Association of United Ways help fund the camps for pre-k students, many of whom come from families living at or below the poverty level. These are students who have not benefitted from a pre-school experience and may be behind in their learning skills and socialization experiences. This year, once again, the UPS Women’s Leadership Division is conducting a major book drive to support the camps. Pre- and post-tests of Kindergarten Countdown students consistently show a significant increase in literacy skills as well as higher levels of confidence and enthusiasm about school.

We Need Books! Please Help!

We are asking companies, businesses, service groups, and individual volunteers in LaPorte County to donate new or gently used books for children attending 10 Kindergarten Countdown camps this summer. 

"We are in desperate need of kindergarten age-appropriate books to give to more than 200 children who will be attending kindergarten readiness camps in La Porte County throughout the summer. Each child is given a book to take home each day of the camp. This is a great way to get the whole family involved in the learning experience."
    - Kris Pate, United Way Executive Director

Anyone interested in helping collect 2,000 new or gently used Kindergarten-level books for campers can drop them at the United Way of LaPorte County office, 115 East 4th Street across from the Michigan City Public Library. To arrange pickup of large book donations, fill out the contact form on our website or call the United Way office at (219) 210-3534.

Minds In Motion LogoMinds In Motion

Minds-in-Motion is a Unique Approach to Learning

It’s a revolutionary way to accelerate a child’s potential for academic, athletic, and social success. The program is designed to stimulate a child’s visial processing, auditory processing, as well as their motor skills. The outcome is a better integrated and balanced child who will perform better in school and at home.

Minds-in-Motion can Benefit Any Child
Research has shown that this program can benefit any child. It doesn’t matter if a child has attention problems, is not able to focus well, is hyperactive, has anxiety issues, or is uncoordinated. Minds-in-Motion can make lasting improvements in any child.

Life is different. What impact does that have on brain development?
Children’s brains are not getting the same brain stimulation as in past generations. The Minds-in-Motion program can help because of the causal relationship between balance and performance. Learning is a function of the whole nervous system. Children have difficulty learning if all of the sensory systems are not helping them to process what is on the page and in their environment. The more fine-tuned the sensory and motor systems – the more one can learn and the easier it is to learn. Poor integration and inefficient coordination between the brain’s systems can be IMPROVED through exercises and activities developed by Minds-in-Motion.

The Scientific Foundation for Minds in Motion
Scientists are now using balance as the central component to address sensory integration disorders that cause learning problems – such as ADHD, auditory processing, speech problems, visual processing problems, etc.

Minds-in-Motion is a unique program developed by a reading specialist using clinical data and a machine created for the astronauts by NASA. The Minds-in-Motion program has helped countless children with attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, Sensory Processing Disorder, central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), plus children with behavioral issues get better.

As the sensory and motor functions of the brain and body integrate to a higher level, the academic, athletic, and social behaviors of children increase to a much higher level. Minds-in-Motion has discovered this is scientifically provable by measuring the visual, auditory, and motor processing ability and function in children.