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.
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.
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.
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.
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.