At United Way of Greater Mercer County we promote early reading readiness, and support the development of critical life skills through our education initiatives and programming to increase children’s self-esteem and self-awareness. Exposure to books, reading and enrichment opportunities nurtures success. We strive to provide tools for families to build a literacy-rich home environment.
A Reading Oasis provides a place where families can read together, learn how to make reading a habit at home and gain access to books year-round. Each Reading Oasis has bookshelves with hundreds of new books, comfortable bean bags and learning rug. To date over 2,000 books have been donated. In addition, through various partnerships we have provided Literacy kits, Teacher’s Closet supplies, VITA services, as well as have supported teacher and student recognition at schools that house Reading Oasis rooms. Learn more...
CLIP [Child Literacy Improvement Project]
The CLIP initiative increases the accessibility of age-appropriate books to children by creating small child-friendly reading areas in local barbershops and beauty salons to improve childhood literacy and foster a love of reading. Access to books is essential to close the gap that tends to exist between children with more resources than others. Having access to books outside the typical locations of schools or libraries teaches children that reading can be FUN too! Learn more...
YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
In partnership with Camp Fire NJ, we provide effective youth development programming to children in Mercer County. The evidence-based programs (Count on Me Kids, Caution Without Fear, and Safe & Sure) build social and emotional development skills such as self-esteem, self-awareness, social skills, decision making, relationship building, and conflict resolution. Learn more...
TEEN ENRICHMENT PROGRAM
In partnership with Boys and Girls Club, we will be training Junior and Senior High School students from the club's Future CPA Academy for our VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) Program. The opportunity will allow students to explore careers in the Accounting field.
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
Our volunteers assist parents and students in filling out this application, making the most of potential financial aid for college. We partner with agencies in the community to reach students in need of assistance. Learn more...
BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
In partnership with TDI (Trenton Digital Initiative) Connect, we help identify individual and corporate computer donations. TDI refurbishes computers and laptops donated by companies and schools. Through our various partners, we help identify the recipient families, including families from the Reading Oasis initiative. To date over 600 computers have been distributed to the community.
SUMMERTIME FOOD INSECURITY
In Mercer County more than 20,000 students receive free and reduced breakfast and lunch every day in school (9,900 in the City of Trenton). On an average day in July only 1,800 students receive free summer meals. The costs to feed a person each day is $9.54, which many cannot afford.
This past summer we applied a three-prong approach to impact food insecurity: awarding $75,000 to 10 charities to expand their focus on summer hunger; packing 178,000 bowls of oatmeal at Strike Out Hunger; and partnering with local and statewide government and nonprofit agencies to promote awareness of free summer meals for children.