Helping children reach their full potential

When kids have a strong educational foundation, they have a better chance of succeeding and positively contributing to their communities. We are committed to supporting our kids as they enter and go through school—making sure they stay on track and have the support they need to reach their full potential.

Through innovative early childhood education, reading tutors and academic support, mentoring, after-school and character development programs, and quality child care, we are preparing our kids for education beyond high school, including college, to compete in the workforce, and to lead our community into the future.

The reality
1 in 4 students in Greater Houston does not graduate from high school.
Less than 50% of Houston's third graders have the reading skills necessary for success in fourth grade.
1 in 4 children is left alone after school.
13 age-appropriate books to every 1 child in middle-income neighborhoods. Same ratio in low-income households: 1 book for every 300 children.

The impact
75% of students in United Way programs are more successful in school.
Lives of 40,000 young people were impacted by United WAy mentors last year.
27,000 kids benefited from United Way after-school programs last year.
More than 181,000 young people benefited from United Way character development programs last year. 

Educational programs with impact:

United Way Bright Beginnings is an innovative early education
program designed to help children from lower-income families achieve
social, emotional, physical and cognitive milestones and enter school
ready to succeed. Bright Beginnings’ hands-on curriculum and childcentered
approach make a measurable difference in preparing children
to start and succeed in school. In its first 10 years, Bright Beginnings has
helped more than 5,000 children build a foundation for the future, with
alumni outperforming their peers on 45 of 51 achievement tests.

United Way Reading Together pairs elementary school students with
corporate and community volunteers to ensure that students are reading
proficiently by the time they enter fourth grade. In its first year, United
Way Reading Together provided reading buddies to 80 students, who all
improved their reading skills.

Houston’s Kids, a holistic out-of-school program, provides enrichment,
character development, academic assistance and family support services
to at-risk students. Houston’s Kids engages students in a curriculum that
supports their academic, social, emotional and physical development.

United Way Summer Learning Initiatives help prevent the learning
loss that lower-income students often experience during the summer. This
year, more than 75 book clubs and a variety of other fun and educational
activities across our community helped students practice essential skills.

Parent Education engages parents and provides them with the
knowledge and tools to best participate in the academic success of their

With one hour a week, you can make a difference in a child's life. Join us—become a United Way Reading Together volunteer! To sign up, email

Learning to read is one of a child's most important achievements and greatest pleasures. We know that books can inform, inspire and encourage children to imagine worlds beyond what they know. We also know that, in our community, less than 50 percent of third graders have the reading skills necessary for success in fourth grade—and students who don't read proficiently by the time they're in fourth grade typically don't catch up.

United Way launched Reading Together in 2012 to ensure that kids are reading proficiently by fourth grade. Volunteers read to and tutor students from two local school districts for one hour, once a week. The consistent commitment of United Way Reading Together volunteers makes a real impact on students, helping them improve their reading skills and develop a love of reading. And, volunteers report feeling a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in the knowledge that they made a difference in a kid's education.


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