United for Student Success is one of Orange County United Way’s three key initiatives.
We’re ensuring local students succeed by offering educational programs that help students stay healthy and provide the support they need to stay on track in school, graduate high school on time, and are college and career-ready.
To increase the high school graduation rate to 95%
among students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds.
Although schools worked tirelessly to support at-home learning during the pandemic, our underserved students and their families are still struggling. A significant segment of our community and Orange County’s future workforce is at risk of being left behind.
We believe all students should have access to quality education and the opportunity to graduate on time prepared for college, career, and beyond. That is why we’re working to level the playing field by improving the educational opportunities available to our children, reducing the digital divide, and providing support where needed to help put our students on the path to academic and life success.
DID YOU KNOW?
Close to 3,000 OC high school students do not graduate each year.
On average, high school graduates earn more per week than dropouts—and provide a public benefit of over $200K in lower government spending and higher tax revenues.
Our goal is to increase the high school graduation rate to 95% among students from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds and ensure graduating students are ready for college, career, and life.
HOW WE DO MORE TO ENSURE STUDENT SUCCESS
Our Destination Graduation program aims to increase the high school graduation rate by offering middle and high school students from high-need districts exciting college and career exploration opportunities, experimental hands-on learning STEM modules, academic tutoring, virtual college field trips, corporate career days, college and career fairs, as well as an independent learning center for at-risk and disengaged students.
YOUTH CAREER CONNECTIONS
Youth Career Connections (YCC) is an integrated, work-based learning program that infuses classroom learning with real-world career experiences by connecting students directly to employers to help them graduate college-, career-, and life-ready. YCC brings learning to life through virtual teacher learning panels, industry site visits, career speaker sessions, summer internships, financial literacy workshops, and Summer Career and Life Prep Academy.
Our program helps high school seniors from low-income families and underserved OC communities to stay on track and graduate on-time. Mentoring from leading professionals and a robust workshop series teach students essential life and career skills to position them for success during school and beyond. New laptops are also provided to bridge the digital divide.
DID YOU KNOW?
Research shows that there is a critical link between health, early childhood development and education, and a child’s future academic success? For example, a child cannot successfully focus on their schoolwork if they are hungry or unwell.
Student wellness is critical to student success. Our goal is to support the physical, mental, social, and emotional health of children in Orange County throughout their education journey.
Healthy Schools Initiative
Our Healthy Schools Initiative is an evidence-based effort that empowers schools to adopt policies and practices to promote student health and wellness through physical activity, nutrition, social and emotional health, and community and parent-led advocacy. Our work in schools aligns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development’s (ASCD) Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model.
School-Based Healthy Food Provision
Our School-based Healthy Food Provision program provides local schools and its surrounding community access to fresh fruits and vegetables through school meal distributions and/or pop-up farmer’s markets.
UNITED WAY IN ACTION: ENSURING STUDENT SUCCESS
underrepresented middle and high school students received academic and social support through our Destination Graduation program
students experienced work-based learning in our Youth Career Connections program
hours of academic tutoring
Source: Community Scorecard 2020-21
EARLY LITERACY IN OC
DID YOU KNOW?
Studies show that a child reading proficiently by the end of third grade is more likely to graduate high school because the end of third grade marks the point when children transition from learning to read to using reading to learn other subjects.
Providing access to books
We help make books and educational materials available for communities where access is scarce.
STUDENT SUCCESS STORIES
“It’s empowering to have someone I can count on and learn from—especially as a first generation student. The e-Mentoring Program helped me to keep going and not give up. Especially during my second semester—there were lots of decisions I had to make about college and money was something I had to consider—it got to me. The program reinforced the idea that I can do it and I should continue forward because my community is cheering me on.”
“My parents don’t want me to struggle the way they did—they never got the chance to go to college. I would like to thank my mentor for teaching me new things and Youth Career Connections for giving me this opportunity because it was really important to me.”
“[Destination Graduation] gave me the confidence to say I am worthy of college and college is for me. My career goal is to become a high school teacher and help low-income communities through financial literacy.”
THANK YOU DONORS
Big THANK YOU to these donors who contributed $5,000+ to support United for Student Success℠ programs.
Donate to United for Student Success℠
Make a financial contribution to support the United for Student Success initiative.