Our Focus Areas

Advocate for Healthy Child Development

Clare Sanford
Wed, 05/07/2008

A Child Lost

Mental illness in children is real, and it is devastating.

You may not have noticed the story in Monday's Globe.More bad news, like background noise - just another person you've never met, who had problems that you couldn't do anything about. Big deal - turn page to see photo du jour of Tom Brady and Gisele.

Except this was different.  read more »

Clare Sanford
Fri, 03/14/2008

Thrive in Five

Boston ramps up its early childhood efforts in this innovative public-private partnership.

Wednesday, March 12 was a good day for the young children of Boston,and their families. The launch of Thrive in Five was the culmination of several years of work to create a vision for Boston's young children and a citywide action plan to prevent the achievement gap. A massive public-private effort convened at the request of Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (with a significant and ongoing investment of resources by United Way), Thrive in Five is built on research and recommendations from myriad sectors touching the lives of young children: early
education and care, early childhood advocacy, research and higher education, K-12 education, health and mental health, community-based/immigrant/multi-service organizations, parenting education/family support/early intervention programs, basic needs and human services, parent advocacy/engagement programs, faith/arts/culture/recreation organizations, and the foundation and private sector arena.

Whew! Exhausted yet?

Thrive in Five created a common definition of the oft-used term,
"school readiness" in order to guide people and organizations across
Boston in their efforts to support young children. It reads as follows...  read more »

Chau Ly
Thu, 03/13/2008

Inspired to care even more deeply

Inspired to care even more deeply

Yesterday I heard a lecture by Jeff Canada (President of the Harlem’s Children’s Zone), “A Community Based Model for Saving Children’s Lives”, at Harvard Law School. It was AMAZING and INCREDIBLY INSPIRING! His words reinforced how much I care about changing the world and how my role as a fundraiser at United Way truly makes a difference to the community. In his passionate speech, he spoke about the crisis America is facing with its young people—how we’re failing them (“We’re creating a pipeline to the prison system,” he said.) and the serious consequences this has on our nation in the competitive global economy.He encouraged us to care and to take a stand for young people...  read more »

Laura Torres
Wed, 02/20/2008

Brain Development and the Toxicity of Poverty

The Importance of Early Child Development

At the UW offices there has been quite a lot of talk about the effects of poverty on early childhood brain development. Now it looks like the discussion is reaching the mainstream. Check out this Financial Times article that summarizes why early childhood intervention is so important and why living in poverty is “poison” to the brain.  read more »

Clare Sanford
Wed, 02/20/2008

Language Barriers and Access to Child Care

Would you want to enroll your child in a system you didn't understand?

Imagine for a second that you are in the market for child care. You have enjoyed raising kids full-time, but the mortgage isn't getting any cheaper, and you're itching to get back to your professional life. Having never used child care, you have many questions. How much will it cost? Am I eligible for any financial assistance? How do I know a quality program from a mediocre one? What if I only need care part-time, or at odd hours? What if I need a place that is appropriate for both my infant and my preschooler? What if I'm interested in care providers of a certain ethnic or cultural background?

Important questions. What if you can't ask them? ...  read more »

Chau Ly
Tue, 02/12/2008

My 28th Anniversary

A personal story about community impact

 On March 6, I will celebrate my 28th anniversary of coming to the US from Vietnam. I want to take this opportunity to share my family’s experience because it touches upon the full spectrum of our work.    read more »

Clare Sanford
Thu, 01/17/2008

Toddlers in Prison

Should a baby born in prison stay in prison?

A New York Times Article points to a program requiring children born to incarcerated mothers to live with them inside prison.  How do you feel about children living with incarcerated parents?  read more »

Sharon Brewster
Tue, 01/15/2008

Ready for PreSchool

An example of United Way's work impacting my own life

Nia, my 2-year-old daughter, has started preschool. I'm proud to say that she's happy, healthy and emotionally prepared for a lifetime of learning. What I learned here at United Way has played a big part in Nia's success...  read more »

Clare Sanford
Wed, 01/09/2008

Mental Health Screening for Young Children

Mental health screening for young children isn't scary, it's necessary.

Last Sunday's Boston Globe ran a letter to the editor expressing concerns over young children being screened for mental health concerns. This letter (The second of two hosted on this page) showed that there has still not been enough public education about exactly what such screening entails and the benefits that can come from it.  read more »

Geetha Pai
Thu, 12/20/2007

Science, Policy and Children

How science is bringing early childhood to the forefront

A few weeks ago I attended The Center on the Developing Child on Science, Policy and Children: Informing the Process to Improve the Outcomes.  Ruth Kagi, a Democrat from Washington and Wes Hayes a Republican from South Carolina discussed the difficulties they faced in passing state legislation related to early child development. Here's a short recap...  read more »