Success By 6
What is Success By 6?
Success By 6, an initiative of the United Way of Atlantic County, is leading an effort to create a web of services within our community to make a positive impact on the lives of children ages 0-6. Success By 6 is a community-wide early childhood initiative that brings together resources from a partnership of individuals from businesses, education, health care, government, media, and service organizations who share the common vision of having children ready to succeed when they enter school.
Success By 6 is the largest early childhood movement in the country and the most recognized United Way initiative. Success By 6 has been adopted around the country as the community model for targeting child health issues.
Goals and Objectives
The goal of Success By 6 is to ensure that infants and preschool children become prepared for school and life-emotionally, socially, medically, and educationally. Success By 6 has worked to achieve this goal by:
- Building awareness of issues regarding children under six years of age.
- Improving access to medical and developmental services to this population
- Expanding community support to include a broad representation of diverse participants
Success By 6 conducted a survey to determine areas of need for children in Atlantic County. Based on the results, Success By 6 will be focusing its immediate attention on pediatric dental health, prenatal care, parenting skills, early literacy, and improving immunization rates.
The programs sponsored by United Way Success By 6 all address our overall goal of increasing school readiness. These programs include:
Raising a Reader – Raising A Reader’s mission is to give every child an equal opportunity at life success by promoting daily book sharing between parents and their young children. Raising A Reader is a take-home book bag program. The program has demonstrated a 471% increase in the percentage of low-income parents sharing books with their children five times or more each week. Children in this program bring home 4 new multicultural and bi-lingual books per week to read with their parents. Parents are given tips on how to read with their children and foster development.
First Book – First Book is a national nonprofit organization with a single mission: to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. We provide an ongoing supply of new books to children participating in community-based mentoring, tutoring, and family literacy programs. The First Book model was developed to leverage the work of local heroes who reach children through existing literacy programs in a variety of settings, such as Head Start centers, libraries and after school initiatives. Children in this program receive 1 book a month for an entire year to build their own library and experience the magic of books.
Born Learning – Born Learning is a national public engagement campaign focused on creating early learning opportunities for young children. Created by United Way, Civitas, & The Advertising Council, it is a program built on the idea that while children are born learning, parents, grandparents & caregivers can encourage that learning & explore ways to turn everyday moments into fun learning opportunities for their children.
Healthy Smiles– In response to the issue of dental heath for children, Success By 6 launched a program call Healthy Smiles of Atlantic County in an effort to address the dental needs of small children to spare them pain and suffering, loss of self esteem, and other, more serious health complications in the future. The Healthy Smiles of Atlantic County project, through a unique community partnership, addresses an urgent concern in Atlantic County by providing critical pediatric dental services to young high-risk children enrolled in community programs who lack the resources to receive this care. Tooth decay (dental caries) is the most common chronic childhood disease. Children are susceptible to tooth decay as soon as their first tooth arrives. Regular checkups are the key to maintaining good oral health, yet 25 percent of low income/high risk children have not seen a dentist before entering kindergarten.
Immunizations– Children are required by law to have all of their age-appropriate vaccinations by the time they enter school. While Atlantic County’s immunization rate is improving, at least 25 percent of the County’s children still lack one or more of the vaccines recommended by age 2. Awareness can help alleviate some of the worry and confusion parents may have regarding the safety and necessity of immunizations. Success By 6 has developed a brochure for new parents to help them navigate which vaccinations their children need. The brochure outlines important contact information for receiving immunizations and contains a convenient schedule of immunizations for children from birth to six years of age.
Kindergarten Readiness Calendar– When children start school ready to learn, they have a much better chance of succeeding as they go through school – and in life. “The Getting Ready for Kindergarten Calendar”- This calendar helps parents prepare their children for kindergarten through year-round activities for 4 and 5 year olds. This calendar uses kindergarten readiness skills as the basis for its content. These skills, such as recognizing letters, numbers and patterns as well as social/emotional development – become monthly “themes” complete with fun daily activities to reinforce each skill.
Many of these programs are made possible through funding from the Women’s Leadership Initiative.
The first six years in a child’s life are critical in developing a healthy mental, social, emotional, and physical foundation. Without a strong foundation, a child’s life begins school at a disadvantage and may struggle throughout life. So many Atlantic County children start school behind where they should be. This is a most preventable tragedy.
But there is hope.
- Every $1 invested in quality early childhood care and education saves from $4 to $7 by increasing the likelihood that children will be literate, employed, and enrolled in secondary education, and less likely to be school dropouts, dependant on welfare, or arrested for criminal activity.
- Every $1 we spend vaccinating children against measles, mumps, rubella, and other diseases, saves $16 in medical costs to treat those illnesses.
- Addressing the dental needs of small children right away will spare them pain and suffering, loss of self esteem, and other, more serious health complications.
Why is Success By 6 different?
What makes Success By 6 so attractive is its highly collaborative nature. Success By 6 seeks help from the community in defining what problems exist and how to address them. Then it builds on services that are already available. The kind of community and system change that is sought is beyond the capacity of any single agency acting on its own. Subsequently, Success By 6 impacts groups of children and families who, in many cases, never receive services.
How Can I Participate?
- Volunteer with a local school or after school program to be a homework helper or reader.
- Spend quality time with your children everyday & include time to read with your child.
- Become an advocate for children. Small steps to help our children will have a big impact if we all try to help in some way!
- Value our children. They are our future and it is our responsibility to ensure that they have their needs met and the resources necessary for them to succeed!
Success By 6 welcomes new partners and participants. The greater number of individuals and organizations on board, the more impact on children’s lives the initiative can have.
For further information on how to get involved with Success By 6 and on how you can play a role in our continuing efforts to improve the lives of young children in Atlantic County, contact Amanda Morrison at United Way of Atlantic County at 609.404.4483, ext.19.