As summer turns to fall and fall turns to winter, learn more about how this busy time of year impacts our community.
As the seasons transition from summer to fall, the busier our lives tend to get. The changes in schedules have us checking our calendars more often, and even when 80-degree weather hangs around, we’re anxious for football games, holidays, and daylight savings, and before you know it, it’s winter. This busy time of year has a unique impact on United Way of East Central Iowa’s (UWECI) three focus areas of education, financial stability, and health.
Our education goal addresses the local opportunity gap; only 61% of low-income children in our five-county service area are reading proficiently, compared to 84% of higher-income children. Of the students in the Cedar Rapids Community School District, an average of 5,999 ride the bus. Buses provide an easy opportunity for individuals with disabilities and students living in low-income neighborhoods to get to school consistently and safely. To ensure students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade—which is crucial for high school graduation—they must first be present. Last year, through our funded community partners & programs, 1,162 youth developed a positive attitude toward school & more than 500 improved attendance.
With colder weather on the horizon, individuals experiencing financial instability, lack of housing, or homelessness have great challenges ahead of them. Many of our funded community partners participate in the Coordinated Entry Process as part of the Linn County Continuum of Care to ensure as many individuals experiencing homelessness are finding shelter and being connected to resources that can help on a path to stability. Our most recent housing report states that a home is critical to the success of anyone in a household young or old, male or female—learn more about the state of housing in our community and why we’re focused on meeting this need in East Central Iowa.
Did you know that 38,000 people live with mental illness in East Central Iowa? Depression is one of the most common types of mental illness and according to Mental Health America, in a given year, about 5% of the U.S. population experiences seasonal depression, also known as the “winter blues.” Our community has been working to respond to mental health needs just as we respond to physical health needs—in 2018, many of our funded community partners & programs supported more than 62,000 counseling sessions. Learn more about the state of mental health in our community in our most recent Condition of Mental Health report.
These are just a few examples of how our community is impacted by a simple change in season. Learn more about what we do, and why we fight for our community, today.