Programs Part of United Way NCA’s Community Commitment Goal to Prepare 12,000 Area Middle School Students to Perform at Grade Level
As thousands of middle-school students prepare to head back to school this year in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland, United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA), the region’s preeminent convener, collaborator and catalyst for social change throughout the National Capital community, today announced Back-to-School initiatives to support the area’s public schools.
As part of United Way NCA’s five-year, $12.3 million Community Commitment, the nonprofit will be targeting 12,000 at-risk middle school students in the National Capital Area to help them perform at grade level and on track to succeed. Every year, 160,000 young people in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland are dropping out of high school and research shows that those students most at risk of dropping out were also struggling in middle school.
“As our area’s students prepare to head back to school, it is the United Way NCA’s commitment to help them succeed by both getting them the school supplies they need while at school and the nutrition required at home,” said Timothy Johnson, Vice President, Community Impact, United Way of the National Capital Area. “Students who start 9th grade on time, reading at grade level and with grade-appropriate math skills, are three times more likely to graduate from high school than students who don’t. United Way NCA has made it our mission to focus our efforts on helping raise 12,000 at-risk middle school students back on a path to graduate on time.”
Johnson continued, “As we approach the start of the 2016-17 school year throughout the metro region, we are focusing on these initiatives because no child in our area should have to go to school hungry or without the proper supplies they need to achieve their full potential.”
As part of this recently launched Community Commitment goal, United Way NCA has unveiled new initiatives for the 2016-17 school year set to begin next week in the Washington, D.C. school district, and after Labor Day for students in Maryland and Northern Virginia.
- Weekend Hunger Backpacks for Area Students – During recent middle school case studies, United Way NCA team found that too many area students were coming to school on Monday morning hungry and unable to concentrate on learning. United Way NCA’s Weekend Hunger Backpacks program will provide meals to help those National Capital Area students get through the weekends during the 2016-17 school season, and come to class on Monday ready to learn.
Already, the program has launched over the summer at Francis C. Hammond Middle School in Alexandria, Virginia where in-school site coordinators have helped distribute backpacks to support over 50 students for the last six months.
During the 2016-17 school season, United Way NCA will be expanding this program to target students at:
- Buck Lodge Middle School, Prince George’s County, Maryland
- John Hayden Johnson Middle School, Washington, D.C.
- Cardozo Education Campus, Washington, D.C.
- Kelly Miller Middle School, Washington, D.C.
- Stuff the Bus Campaign – With a goal this year to help 24,000 area school children, veterans and people experiencing homelessness by June 30th, 2017, United Way NCA has launched the Stuff the Bus Each backpack will contain school supplies such as gift cards to Targets, Wegmans and Walmart, as well pens, pencils, scissors, erasers and other needed supplies to help middle school students succeed. The backpacks will also contain personal care items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes and food.
To date, more than 1,600 backpacks have been assembled by 180 volunteers and distributed to 9 schools and/or UWNCA member nonprofits in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland. For example, 100 backpacks have already been delivered to Langston Hughes Middle School in Reston, Virginia.