Caring for Kids

Every child deserves to have a chance for a healthy and happy life – to grow up with a true sense of hope for a bright future. This is a foundational principle of United Way of Greater Fort Dodge.

An important measure of the quality of our community is how committed we are to investing in our youth so they will have opportunities to thrive and enjoy a brighter future. Our youth are 20% of our population and 100% of our future. We know that at least 50% of them will never leave the area. They will be our future workforce.

The Effects of Poverty

Today, there are many children who are struggling and their potential is going unrealized because they live in poverty-stricken households. 25% of our youth live at or close to poverty and another 40% live in families that struggle to meet basic living expenses. For youth living in poverty, the hurdles they must overcome are enormous. The social ills that accompany poverty often rob our youth of the gift of a hopeful future. Most of these children begin their lives in environments that offer them huge challenges. Many of these kids grow up in homes where housing is unstable, food is limited, abuse and neglect are common, depression is pervasive, resources for healthcare, clothing and transportation are very limited, nurturing is rare and education isn’t valued.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

There is only one thing that proves to be more expensive than education in life. The lack of it. For youth born into a poverty-stricken family, a critical factor that can help them break out of their family’s cycle of poverty is getting a good education. Our youth need to achieve in school so they will have the opportunity to continue on to post-secondary training and education. Today jobs and tomorrow’s workforce will require even higher skills and training. Without a good education, our kids living in poverty will never have the opportunity to break the chains of poverty and have a brighter future.

United Way of Fort Dodge’s number 1 priority is to help our youth reach their full potential.

Funds from our United Way campaign go directly to support important programs and services to help our kids reach their full potential, and in many cases, break out of the cycle of poverty they were born into. Our United Way funds are touching the lives of hundreds of youth each year and are making an impact – even a life-changing impact for many of children, adolescents and teens.

United Way - Caring for Kids Fund

The Caring for Kids Fund provides a “helping hand” to our kids to enhance and enrich their lives so they can have hope for a brighter future.

Funds will be used to support:
  • Emergency/crisis support for Housing, Food and Other Basic Needs – Be it food, housing, clothing or other basic needs, these funds are there to help kids and their families during an emergency or crisis to prevent homelessness, hunger and other critical challenges.
  • Fighting Hunger - funds are used to support our local food pantries and the Backpack Buddies program, and to provide food vouchers in emergencies.
  • Beds for Kids – Funds are used to help us provide beds for kids that have no bed and are sleeping on floors. A warm bed to sleep in at night is important for children.
  • Hope for Healing Fund – This fund provides financial support to ensure that our youth are able to get access to healthcare, prescription drugs – even life-saving health services.
  • Addressing Mental Health – Funds are used to help children get access to important mental health services to help them overcome depression and other mental illness. Funds also support anti-bullying and suicide prevention programs in our local schools.
  • Mentoring Support – Funds are used to support the youth mentoring in our local schools to help disadvantaged children reach their full potential in school and developmentally.
  • Educational Support – Funds support the Joy of Reading program, after school programs and other educational programs that help children achieve in school.
  • High School Graduation – Funds are used to support the credit restoration program at Fort Dodge Senior High so students who fall behind on their credits can catch-up and have a legitimate chance to graduate and receive their high school diploma. United Way also supports programs that counsel youth and helps them attain a high school graduation equivalency degree.