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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Strong Neighborhoods

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Yes, we "officially" celebrate Black History Month in February, but it's never too late to shine a light on the important figures that make our community great! Working in the Ellis Heights Neighborhood, I drive by Lewis Lemon Elementary School often. I'd like to share a little history related to the school's name!

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United Way's Strong Neighborhoods initiative is focused on bringing health, education and financial stability resources directly to children and families living in Midtown and Ellis Heights neighborhoods. At the same time, we uncover assets in these neighborhoods that are beneficial to the rest of the Rockford-area community.

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For the past year, I have been working with the leadership of Zion West Neighborhood Association, specifically helping the group establish a vision for its neighborhood improvement efforts. Early on the group determined to focus on creating a safe and healthy neighborhood for residents of Ellis Heights.

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Families at Lewis Lemon Elementary kicked off the year right with an evening of healthy eats and fun dance moves last week during their first Family Fitness Night event. United Way of Rock River Valley worked alongside Lewis Lemon PTO leaders to incorporate family health and fitness programming into their monthly family night events. Last week's event featured a hands-on demonstration on preparing low-cost healthy foods by Carol Erickson, Visiting Extension Educator, SNAP-Ed with University of Illinois Extension – Rockford. Families then participated in a Zumba dance workout lead by Vivian Keuter, Assistant Principal with Lewis Lemon School.

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With 1 in 5 children in the U.S. living below the poverty line, heading back to school after break can reveal just how stressful home life really is for young students. In How To Help Kids In Poverty Adjust To The Stability Of School After Break, NPR blogger Meg Anderson writes that for those students, being away from school can be a crippling time of insecurity when it comes to food and shelter. By leveraging community resources available and training teachers on how to recognize these signs and where to direct students and families, we can help to create a better learning environment for students.

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This year, on Tuesday, December 1, United Way of Rock River Valley is participating in #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving smarter and greater. Similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days synonymous with holiday shopping, #GivingTuesday, held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, harnesses the power of social media to inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

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Meet John and Jane. John and Jane were born in two towns of similar size with the same unemployment rate. But that's where the similarities stop. John grew up in a town with a higher household median income, more affordable housing and lower poverty rate, resulting in better opportunities for John to succeed in life. We can't change the circumstance of John and Jane's lives, and their talents and ambitions play a role in how far they will go in life. But looking at the right measurements and comprehensive information in our community, we can begin to understand the progress needed to boost economic mobility for American.

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Last week we concluded the 2015 season of Strong Neighborhoods Days. Thanks to residents, City of Rockford police officers and human services organizations for coming out to Rockford Housing Authority Blackhawk Courts. We look forward to engaging with residents at a neighborhood school during the school year.

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We had another nice turnout for Strong Neighborhoods Days yesterday. Thanks to the residents of Midtown District neighborhood for coming out to our Strong Neighborhoods House location to meet with other residents and connect with community resources. We look forward to connecting with more residents at the two remaining Strong Neighborhoods Days.

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United Way, in collaboration with Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, Patriot's Gateway Community Center, Rockford Park District and Youth Services Network, offers a weekly Summer Learning Zone program for children living in Ellis Heights and Midtown District neighborhoods. The program helps students avoid the "summer slide", which occurs once school doors close for the summer.

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Nearly 30 interns from Greenlee / A Textron Company worked alongside Ellis Heights residents and organizations today to help clear debris and beautify the neighborhood. The clean-up efforts are part of Project 1013, a partnership between West Gateway Coalition and Rock Church, which advances the beautification of the Ellis Heights neighborhood.

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United Way is uniquely positioned to create community solutions that engage people, companies, faith communities, government, labor, nonprofits and more to create community solutions that drive lasting change and results in communities around the world. We invite everyone to be part of the change.

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