United Way of the Plains

Education: Nurturing children's potential

Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. We know that entering school ready to learn and graduating on time leads to success in work and life. It’s essential to getting and keeping a job with a livable wage and health benefits. And it’s fundamental to a community’s economic prosperity: a well-educated workforce attracts world-class jobs.

Importance of Learning to Read on Time: See Jeff Turner, Retired President & CEO of Spirit AeroSystems, shares his story of struggling to learn to read and the importance of reading for life-long success: video.

Funded Programs

Character Development, Mentoring and Life Skills

Program / Agency

Comprehensive Character Development / Boy Scouts of America, Quivira Council

Scoutreach / Boy Scouts of America, Quivira Council

Summer Awareness Camp / Boy Scouts of America, Quivira Council

Youth Development - At Risk Youth / Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas

Foster Grandparents / Catholic Charities

School Sites / Pando Initiative (formerly Communities In Schools of Wichita/Sedgwick County)

Community Based Programs / Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland

Youth Development / Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland

Community-Based Mentoring / Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters (Sedgwick County)

Caring Ladies Assisting Students Succeed / Rise Up for Youth

Do You Want to Live or Die / Rise Up for Youth

Child Advocacy in Legal System

Program / Agency

Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children / CASA of Sedgwick County

Child Advocacy Center in Butler County / Sunlight Children’s Advocacy & Rights Foundation (SCARF)

Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children / Tri-County CASA

Learning Assistance

Program / Agency

Y SOAR (Summer of Awesome Reading) / YMCA, Greater Wichita

Parenting Support and Education

Program / Agency

Kinship Navigator / Kansas Children’s Service League

Quality Child Care

Program / Agency

Child Care Aware / Child Start

Child Care and Camping / YMCA, Greater Wichita

Middle School After School / YMCA, Greater Wichita

Services for Children with Special Needs

Program / Agency

Circle of Friends / The Arc of Sedgwick County

Y.E.S.S. (Youth Education & Summer Socialization) / The Arc of Sedgwick County

Developmental Assessments and Evaluations / Rainbows United

Quality Specialized Child Care / Rainbows United

Business Fundamentals for Youth with Disabilities / United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas


Be There! Initiative Thumbnail JPG
Be There!

Showing up for school has a huge impact on a student's academic success starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Absences - excused or not - have a lasting impact. United Way's new "Be There!" initiative seeks to improve school attendance in order to improve student achievement.

Read to Succeed
Read to Succeed

Many students enter fourth grade unable to read at grade level. And suddenly, they slip
behind. First in school, then in life. But the Women United® Read to Succeed initiative is changing that story. The initiative helps children read at grade level by third grade, when students begin to transition from "learning to read" to "reading to learn."


Wichita Westside Promise Neighborhoods Coalition

Wichita Westside Promise Neighborhoods Coalition is working to ensure that all children will grow up with access to effective schools, strong families and supportive communities to ensure they successfully transition to college and a career. They hope to expand and enhance the cradle-to-college-to-career solutions available to children, youth and families within their target area. United Way is leading the charge by committing $1 million. 

Early Childhood Block Grant
Early Childhood Block Grant

The early days, months, and years of your child’s development will shape their future. If you’re a parent in need of help with your child, or you know someone who does, the Wichita Early Childhood Block Grant funds seven programs that provide assistance.

United Way Programs

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library brings books into children's homes on a monthly basis to help them develop a love of reading before they enter school. United Way of the Plains launched the program in 2011.



We are seeing positive results in our community impact work for "Be There!" School Attendance Initiative, Dolly Parton Imagination Library and Women United's Read To Succeed Initiative. Download pdf of results below.

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Success Stories

Read stories of how United Way funded programs are making a difference in the area of education.

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