News

Family support programming series at Ellis Elementary strengthens parent skills

Strong Neighborhoods Parenthood

(Rockford, Ill. - 10/22/2015) – In an effort to help families respond to issues of poverty, it is important to provide support for parents as well as for children. United Way of Rock River Valley, in collaboration with Ellis Elementary School, Rockford Public Schools District #205, and Rockford Park District, is addressing this need by providing quality parent support programming directly into the Ellis Heights neighborhood. ParentH.O.O.D (Helping Our Own Develop) program will provide a series of four events covering relevant topics in education, income and health, which will help parents build stronger networks of support and get connected to important community resources. The events will be held in conjunction with Ellis Elementary School family nights.

ParentH.O.O.D. program is a direct response to needs discovered through United Way's Strong Neighborhoods initiative, which is dramatically improve the quality of life for children and families in two of the region's most challenged neighborhoods. Parents acknowledged feeling frustrated while trying to pursue education, find employment and respond to health challenges. One of the areas of frustration for parents was the lack of true support from service providers. Although parents are dedicated caregivers, many deal with tremendous life challenges and need support. Parents participating in the program will improve their understanding of community resources, learn communication and advocacy skills, and gain a better sense of support from neighbors and organizations aimed at addressing social needs.

 

Program Content

October 22, 2015 – Mental Health
Katie Heisler, Intensive Community/School Based Counselor – Rosecrance

Explain signs and symptoms of mental health issues that children often struggle with, explain services that are available through Rosecrance, how it can help their child, and medication that is often used to treat these signs and symptoms.

 

December 10, 2015 – Substance Abuse/Self Care – How to handle stress and life challenges
Kyle Auman, Health Equity Officer – Winnebago County Health Department

Discuss alternative solutions to dealing with stress such as a list of resources in the community and how parents can get in contact with them.

 

March 17, 2016 – Communication/Education - How to be an advocate for yourself
Professor Theresa Gilbert – Rock Valley College
Dr.Will Ashford, Director of Learning Opportunity Center – Rock Valley College
Amanda Smith, Dean of Adult Education – Rock Valley College

Parents will be given a brief introduction to educational programming in our community including benefits of and how to move forward getting a G.E.D, opportunities in higher education, certificate programs, and degree programs. Parents will be invited to participate in a four-week continuation of this session of Parenth.o.o.d. education to be held at Rock Valley College.

 

April 14, 2016 – Jobs/Income - Hiring event and employment resources
Mike Williams, Executive Director – Rock River Training Corporation

Provide staff to attend the parent support sessions to present information regarding workforce training services and opportunities offered through the Workforce Connection.

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley creates lasting change for everyone in Winnebago and Ogle counties by reducing childhood poverty and building hope for families in neighborhoods. We unite people and organizations to focus on results-driven solutions that create a community of healthy, well-educated and financially-stable individuals and families. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to make the change happen.

United Way to host Grant Seekers Forum

United Way News

(Rockford, Ill. - 10/15/2015) – United Way of Rock River Valley will hold a Grant Seekers Forum on Thursday, November 5 from 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at the Nordlof Center, located at 118 N. Main Street in Rockford. This forum will discuss the grant allocation process of United Way and offer helpful tips on applying for a grant.

Through staff, board, and volunteer oversight, United Way is consistently aware of developing community needs and looks for programs best able to respond to those needs. United Way will only consider grant requests from human service agencies for programs that align with United Way's Strategies for the Common Good and demonstrate significant community impact in the areas of Education, Health, and Income.

The grant process is open and competitive. In order to be eligible for a grant from United Way, human service organizations must:

  • be in operation and providing services in Winnebago or Ogle County for at least five (5) years;
  • be a 501(c)3 charitable organization;
  • conduct an annual audit by an independent auditor and submit an audit to United Way of Rock River Valley;
  • submit a letter of good standing from the Illinois Secretary of State;
  • submit a Federal 990 and the Illinois 990AG;
  • have an active, local Board of Directors comprised of nonpaid volunteers who meet at least quarterly;
  • maintain an annual operating budget;
  • agree to United Way of Rock River Valley's Memorandum of Agreement;
  • have no outstanding mid-term or final reports.

Programs meeting the following criteria are not eligible for a grant from United Way:

  • Primarily political in nature
  • Provides services limited solely to the members of a particular religious group; a program run by an agency with a religious affiliation may be granted funds, but only if the program is not religion-based and grant allocation funds are clearly not used for religious activities.
  • Exists solely as a forum for the presentation of cultural and/or artistic achievements
  • Provides only direct medical services such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, neighborhood health centers and other health service delivery systems; this does not prohibit the funding of programs that provide supportive and ancillary health services for specific client populations
  • Provides primary services that are the mandated responsibility of a governmental organization that serves the entire community.

United Way of Rock River Valley grant applications will be available beginning on November 15, 2015. Deadline for application is noon on January 4, 2016. Applications and instructions are available here. Please contact Ella Nelson, Community Impact Coordinator by calling 815-986-4814 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions.

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley creates lasting change for everyone in Winnebago and Ogle counties by reducing childhood poverty and building hope for families in neighborhoods. We unite people and organizations to focus on results-driven solutions that create a community of healthy, well-educated and financially-stable individuals and families. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to make the change happen.

October School Readiness Book: Young readers learn about finding reassurance and hope in difficult times

School Readiness Associated Bank 

Michelle with Associated Bank introduces 'The Kissing Hand' to pre-k students in Miss Rachel's class at Donald C. Parker Early Education Center. (Photo: United Way of Rock River Valley)
 

(Rockford, Ill. - 10/05/2015) – This month, over 4,000 pre-k students will receive The Kissing Hand / Un Beso en Mi Mano as part of October's book title for Success By 6® Page Turner Reading Program. The program is part of United Way's school readiness initiative that helps children birth to age 6 learn, grow, and enter kindergarten ready to succeed. Members from Associated Bank and United Way introduced the book to classrooms in Harlem and Rockford schools.

In The Kissing Hand, school is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester's fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret call the Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love nay time his world feels a little scary. Written by Audrey Penn, this heartwarming children's classic is widely used by pre-k and kindergarten teachers to confront the many emotions children experience during the start of a school year.

Each month during the school year, pre-k children receive their very own age-appropriate book selected by early childhood specialists. Children begin to build their personal libraries and parents receive tips on ways to engage their young child in learning at home. Teachers also incorporate activities developed around each book title into their classroom curriculum. Books and materials are provided for English- and Spanish-speaking families.

United Way of Rock River Valley, in collaboration with City of Rockford Head Start, The Diocese of Rockford, Harlem School District #122, Kreative K, Montessori, Rockford Lutheran School, and Rockford Public Schools District #205, assists educators in developing pre-literacy skills in students that are essential for kindergarten readiness. Since the majority of brain development occurs between birth and age five, quality early learning and care programs have a profound impact on lifelong success and support cognitive, social and emotional development.

For more information, visit United Way's Success By 6 initiaitive or contact Ella Nelson, Impact Coordinator, by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley creates lasting change for everyone in Winnebago and Ogle counties by reducing childhood poverty and building hope for families in neighborhoods. We unite people and organizations to focus on results-driven solutions that create a community of healthy, well-educated and financially-stable individuals and families. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to make the change happen.

AFL-CIO and human services rally together in support of Illinois families

 AFL CIO Budget Rally

(Rockford, Ill. - 10/07/2015) – Under a unified voice, members of Illinois AFL-CIO, United Way of Rock River Valley and the nonprofit community assembled yesterday at E.J. "Zeke" Giorgi Center to call on leaders of the General Assembly and the Governor to promptly pass a state budget. Now in its fourth month, the budget impasse in Springfield is causing uncertainty and distress across the human services sector and concerns about the long-term impact of future state budget cuts on children and families.

"Nonprofits depend on a timely and fiscally-responsible state budget to provide programs that ensure basic quality of life to our disadvantaged neighbors and that advance the collective economic strength of the region," says Linda Sandquist, vice president of United Way of Rock River Valley. "Lack of a budget resolution means that the state's promise to our local human service providers has been broken."

During a United Way of Illinois survey of more than 400 human service agencies in July, 39 percent of agencies had already tapped into cash reserves to maintain operations and 19 percent reported that they would have depleted their cash reserves by the end of August. In fact, the survey found that four out of ten agencies had less than three months of cash on hand. Locally, many nonprofit agencies are experiencing severe reductions, or even elimination of state funding and are, out of financial necessity, cutting back or sharply reducing their services.

For instance:

  • To date, the Literacy Council has used $42,400 from its reserves. By December 30, 2015, the agency's deficit will be between $60,000 and $100,000 and reserves will be depleted, causing the agency to reduce programming by more than half.

  • Remedies, the area's domestic abuse shelter, is currently owed $400,000 from the state. During the month of September, the agency turned away more than 100 women and children who requested services.

  • A total of 41 hours of service have been cut from the Boys and Girls Club of Rockford resulting in a 63 percent decline in average attendance.

The budget impasse also creates a negative impact on the health of the local economy. The longer the budget impasse continues, the more it threatens the hundreds of thousands of Illinois workers employed by human services agencies. A local unnamed agency, citing employee privacy, recently cut ten percent of its administrators pay and will lay off up to seven staff by November 1.

Today's event served as an update to the community on the economic and social impact of the Illinois State budget impasse. Mike Brown, CEO & President of YMCA of Rock River Valley, Gary Halbach, CEO of Remedies, and Chip Stoner, President/CEO of Boys and Girls Club of Rockford shared their concerns on how the budget impasse is affecting their delivery of quality services. Michael T. Carrigan, President of Illinois AFL-CIO and Brad Long, President of Northwestern Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council, spoke on the impact the budget stalemate is having on the State's economy and working class.

Last month, United Way hosted a similar forum featuring local legislators and nonprofit leaders at the Nordloff Center in Rockford.

"Sustaining human services in the State of Illinois will require a collaborative effort among government, and civic and private sectors. United Way, as the largest private funder of human services in the state, will continue to advocate for a responsible budget that recognizes the value and importance of human services," says Sandquist.

 

Resources:

#SaveILFamilies Action Center

YouTube - 13WREX video

YouTube - 23WIFR video

YouTube - WTVO Eyewitness News video

 


United Way of Rock River Valley

United Way of Rock River Valley creates lasting change for everyone in Winnebago and Ogle counties by reducing childhood poverty and building hope for families in neighborhoods. We unite people and organizations to focus on results-driven solutions that create a community of healthy, well-educated and financially-stable individuals and families. LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to make the change happen.

Update on the economic and social impact of the budget impasse

 AFL-CIO Budget Impact Update

United Way of Rock River Valley and the Illinois AFL-CIO invite you to an Illinois State Budget Impact Update. The purpose of this event is to update the community on the economic and social impact of the State of Illinois budget impasse.

Your attendance is vitally important as together we continue to champion the services provided by the local nonprofit sector. Speakers from our sector will discuss the difficulties facing our clientele and our community as a result of the lack of state funding. Local Legislators have been invited and will have the opportunity to speak about the budget impasse.

Please make arrangements to attend. Make sure to bring your ID and arrive early, as check-in is required in this building.

 

Details

Tuesday, October 6, 2015
E.J. "Zeke" Giorgi Center
200 South Wyman, Rockford, Ill.
11:00 a.m.

 

Speakers

Michael T. Carrigan - President, Illinios AFL-CIO
Gary Halbach - CEO, Remedies
Brad Long - President, Northwestern Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council
Linda Sandquist - Vice President, United Way of Rock River Valley
Chip Stoner - President/CEO, Boys and Girls Club of Rockford