|Students at Donegan Elementary School |
attend FamilyWize event.
The United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley’s COMPASS program (Community Partners for Student Success) is an initiative that encourages community partnership with educational institutions to ensure that students have all the resources necessary to follow their dreams and pursue academic success. These resources are not only limited to financial sponsorship but especially focus on mentorship from leaders in the community. It encourages students to take part in community service projects and empowers parents to take a more active role within the student body. COMPASS emphasizes education, leadership and character development to help guide students toward a fulfilling future.
The United Way of the GLV states that the community school model focuses on the following elements, reported by the Coalition for Community Schools that have been proven to increase students’ learning potential:
- Access to high quality early childhood programs
- Quality education through high standards for all students
- A wide range of positive youth development opportunities
- Services that help students/families to meet their basic needs
- Mutual respect and effective collaboration among parents, staff and the community
- Safe and supportive learning environment
Susan Gilmore, President of the United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, noted that efforts to provide quality education for children in their community cannot be totally fulfilled by the United Way alone, but depend heavily on the support and partnership with businesses and individuals within the community. She spoke about leadership programs within the school, reading programs and activities at the school that were made possible through United Way and participation from the community. The Lehigh University Black Student Union also showed their support by taking part in a performance of “Lean on Me” by Donegal’s students. Some Lehigh University student athletes were also present and Lehigh University president, Alice Gast, discussed their involvement in the “Reading Rocks” program which drives home the importance of education in addition to students’ extracurricular activities.
A student at Donegan, although seemingly nervous, spoke to the crowd with great insight about how involvement from the community, Lehigh University students, United Way volunteers and local small business owners had positively impacted his experience in school.“I like telling people what to do”, he said. “And with the leadership programs here, I could.” He also spoke about improvement in his reading skills and touted himself as an example of the types of students such partnerships could foster.
|Part of the ribbon that was tied by Dan Barnes, |
CEO and Co-Chair at FamilyWize.
|It takes a village to make a school successful. |
FamiliyWize is proud to embark on this journey
with the people of Lehigh Valley.
Contributing Writer and FamilyWize Marketing Team Member