United Way looks at the big picture to deliver a coordinated network of services and programs to address a range of needs for children and families who are living in poverty.
Behind all our work, there are people like you who get involved in big and small ways. Help us ensure a better future for families living in poverty by getting involved.
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United Way is a network of more than 75 local United Way offices. Since 1941, we’ve worked in the Alberta Capital Region for the betterment of all.
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Do Local Good - September 2022
United Way of the Alberta Capital Region helps kids from the start with early learning and development, support through the school years, and all the way to high school completion. By giving the next generation the tools they need to succeed, they can break out of the cycle of poverty.
Through United Way programs, children and youth develop increased confidence, self-esteem, and improved problem-solving and coping skills, as well as increased concentration and mental preparedness for school, which leads to improved academic outcomes. We work directly with schools in the region and partner with dozens of social services agencies and community centres to address the range of needs and circumstances of vulnerable children and youth.
With United Way’s holistic approach to supporting youth, your donation helps children have safe spaces, have their basic needs met, and have access to positive developmental resources.
Since 1998, The Kid Kit® program is one of the many ways United Way is supporting parents and children learn the tools they need to be happy, healthy, and confident. Through play, The Kid Kit supports the development of social skills, communication skills, motor skills, pre-literacy and general knowledge, and emotional regulation.
Thanks to the ongoing support of donors, The Kid Kit is available for free and distributed through agencies and organizations that support young families. Last year, 3,660 Kits were distributed to families across the region. Staff work with families one-on-one to distribute the kits and follow up to support the families if they need more help incorporating the Kit in their day.
United Way also regularly evaluates and adapts The Kid Kit® to meet the needs of families. For instance, 17 per cent of families who use the Kit identify as Indigenous, Métis, or Inuit. And so, as of spring 2022, United Way is adding books by Indigenous authors to each age group for The Kid Kit.
“This is a small step toward acknowledging the significance of Indigenous Knowledge in child development,” explains Rebecca Jansen, United Way’s Associate, Children & Youth. “It was also important for us to increase Indigenous representation — not only for Indigenous families to see themselves in these stories, but for all families to learn more about Indigenous ways of knowing and being.”
Each book’s theme reflects Indigenous worldview, aligning Indigenous Knowledge with the developmental stages of each Kit.
All in for Youth (AIFY) brings together local services to help address the complex needs children and families experience when living with low income. Supporting youth on their educational journey, AIFY is focused on increasing high school completion by reducing drop-out rates and setting youth up for success.
AIFY removes barriers to learning, helping students and families in many ways, including:
AIFY schools are in some of the highest-needs areas in Edmonton. Families and students face a intersection of challenges related to socioeconomic status, language and race, and disabilities and accessibility. Through these in-school services we can support students – many of whom are Indigenous or newcomers – achieve a more level footing with their peers.
This year, thanks to ongoing support of donors, we were able to extend AIFY services from five schools to eight.
Last year, 2,112 students and their families had access to AIFY services.
United Way of the Alberta Capital Region is dedicated to helping kids by giving them an equal start to the school year. For almost thirty years, Tools for School has helped to reduce one known barrier preventing children and youth from successful learning and participation in school by providing backpacks full of school supplies to kids in need.
In some areas of the Alberta Capital Region, the need for backpacks filled with school supplies is as high as 8 in 10 students. As our community continues to feel the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, the rising costs of inflation, and the influx of refugee students, we anticipate the need will continue to grow. We know that students who have the tools they need can focus on learning. We believe that every child deserves this opportunity because this leads to better education and life outcomes.
But tackling the root causes of poverty isn’t something that one organization can do in isolation. That’s why, in addition to supporters like you, United Way works with governments, schools, other non-profits, and businesses to make lasting change in our community.
Staples Canada has been a long-time corporate sponsor of Tools for School. Every year, local stores host drop-off bins, ask for donations at the till, and provide United Way with a discount so monetary donations can go even farther to support students. Last year, local Staples customers raised an amazing $119,000 with at the till donations!
Last year, United Way’s Tools for School program distributed more than 12,000 backpacks and school supply kits to students in need.
Presented by Dentons, Make Your Mark on Poverty is a one-of-a-kind program that fosters leadership skills in students from Kindergarten through Grade 12 as they create and deliver projects that help people in need in the Edmonton region.
United Way provides guidance and funding for these student-led initiatives developed through Make Your Mark, while also supporting teachers as they educate students on poverty, the role of non-profits, and their own agency as the next generation of changemakers.
Last school year, hundreds of students at schools in four local divisions were awarded grants to take on projects that helped people in need in our area. Throughout the process, students learned more about how complex poverty is, and how empathy and understanding help to make our communities a better place for everyone.
Our team at United Way has been working hard to invigorate Make Your Mark with new leadership development and poverty awareness content that aligns with grade level curriculum. By focusing on building these skills at an early age, we know we can support our youth who are passionate about making a difference and building a thriving, connected, and supportive community.
Make Your Mark students at Michael A Kostek school gathered items to donate to Hope Mission, including sleeping bags, socks and underwear, toiletries, and warm winter wear.