Education | Orange County United Way


Advancing education in Orange County


From Cradle to Career

When we launched our communitywide action plan FACE 2024, 4,000 students were dropping out of high school each year. Today, the outlook is improving somewhat but, even one dropout is one too many. That’s why we are changing the story for children.

The decision to drop out is a dangerous one: dropouts are more likely to be unemployed, living in poverty, on public assistance, unhealthy, divorced or single parents with children who are more likely to drop out of high school.

When kids don’t graduate, in addition to the waste of human potential, the costs multiply:

  • Higher crime rates, higher demand for social services
  • Lower tax revenues from lower paying jobs
  • Lost chances to share in global economic competitiveness

Dropout prevention starts at birth, at a time when children and parents are engaged and have access to the tools they need to succeed. That’s why we’re leveling the playing field by improving educational opportunities for our children, from cradle to career.

United Way at Work

More children will succeed in school and life through our collective efforts and investments at key transition points in their young lives:

Early Grade Reading

Early childhood education programs directly enhance the cognitive and social development of at-risk children, ensuring their successful transition from kindergarten to third grade.

Raising Reading Achievement: More than 1,800 children in grades K-3 were provided with reading interventions through OC Reads, Read Aloud 15 Minutes and K-3 Read & Succeed programs, where children develop language and literacy skills needed to read at grade level.

Middle School Success

Middle School education programs directly improve the academic success of at-risk students by improving grade-appropriate reading, mathematics or science skills, as well as inspiring parents to be engaged in their child’s academic progress.

Engaging Leaders in Problem Solving: Last year more than 10,000 middle school students received STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education resources along with hands-on 21st century skills—skills necessary to prepare students for the global workforce.

Graduate on Time and Ready

Destination Graduation opens up career exploration opportunities, college readiness info such as applying and paying for school, and exposure to local businesses. Better educated students improve high school graduation rates, producing a better-prepared workforce that stimulates living wage jobs and our local economy.

Going Places: More than 26,000 high school students enrolled in Destination Graduation received mentoring, tutoring, career and college exposure, giving them every opportunity to succeed and contribute to our community.

“United Way’s Destination Graduation program has given me the opportunity to go on several different career-oriented field trips that have helped me define my path for the next four years in college.” — Michela
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Education is the cornerstone of personal and community success. Spearheading early education programs, inspiring at-risk youth, providing a clear path to on-time high school graduation—all are vital to our FACE 2024 goal: to cut the high school dropout rate in half by 2024.

Together with your help, we can ensure the current and next generation of children has access to a quality education.

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