Happy New Year! I hope that the end of 2014 brought you time with family, rest and reflection. I spent some time in the deep freeze of Wisconsin, visiting family and enjoying my wife, daughter and son.
I know many of you received your college bound freshman home for the first holiday season. It is amazing how much they mature and grow in just the first year away from home.
We are off to the races with the beginning of this new year. At the close of 2014, we received word that we had been selected as a sub-grantee of the Department of Education’s “Nevada Ready!” Preschool Development Grant.
This honor allows us to further expand and develop the work which we have done for many years, focusing on the beginning of the educational continuum, preschool, so that we have better outcomes on the other end of the continuum, in high school.
This is an ambitious, achievable and quality focused plan expanding access to high-quality preschools. We look forward to sharing more of this work as the year progresses. This grant will also let us focus more on Education, Health and Financial Stability around high-need families, yet through the access point of Education. It is through this door, this gateway if you will, that we can more completely touch families and wrap our arms, and our services around them, to buoy them to success.
This month we will see another incredible project develop and grow, our “Piggy Bank.” A collaborative effort between our YPS members, Andson Foundation and Silver State Credit Union, on January 21 we will watch the doors open on the second “Piggy Bank” at Hollingsworth Elementary. Hollingsworth is one of several schools in the Downtown Achieves footprint, a Title One school, and one which we have been working with for years. We look forward to seeing the ribbon cut and the bank officially opened as kids, parents, teachers and administrators take part in financial literacy curriculum and saving. Saving, and knowing how to budget and navigate the ever-changing financial environment is more important than ever. Our kids must be armed with these tools so that they can protect their futures, make sound decisions, and create a financial parachute. We hope you’ll join us at the opening of the “Piggy Bank” at 8:00 a.m.
We are gearing up for the Legislative session. With many exciting bills in development, we hope to see movement and strides in important issues like mental health, kindergarten and preschool education. Please see United Way Worldwide’s Policy Agenda for the 113th Congress which we added to our website.
On December 2nd, we celebrated our first Holi “DAY” of Giving. I hope you read the follow up article to this day and see the results of your hard work and dedication. Families enjoying the dinner baskets we assembled, children shrieking with glee at their first toothbrush, and children in our partner preschools receiving the beautifully adorned stockings you created. I know we say this often, but it is miraculous to watch people come together and volunteer their time. What we can do in just a few hours is staggering. Thank you to all the volunteers that came out to support this important holiday effort.
Many of you are gearing up for the Tax Season. Please go to our website and access information for quality tax preparation. Many of our workplace campaigns will again have roving sites that we set up every year. And if you wish to volunteer to be a volunteer tax preparer, please do let us know. While tax prep may seem a little….dry to some, taking part in getting families the tax credits they have earned is anything but dry. Actually, we see lots of tears, tears of relief and gratitude for having received not only a refund, but for receiving an honest, genuine, quality experience in doing so.
We hope to see many of you soon as this year starts off with a bang!
We send our most sincere wishes for peace, prosperity and happiness in the New Year.