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Helping kids like Marcus succeed in school

March 5, 2021

Parents want what’s best for their children: A safe place to call home. Clean clothes. Healthy meals. But for those struggling just to get by—or worse—basics needs often become merely hopes and dreams.

Fourth-grader Marcus, usually a good student, started doing worse in school. His grades were slipping fast, and his teachers noticed that other kids picked on him and that he sometimes cried in class. Fortunately for Marcus, his school runs United Way’s early-intervention On Track 4 Success program, which helps struggling students so that they stay on track to eventually graduate high school.

The teachers had Marcus meet with a United Way social worker named Anna who works in the school. He told her he dreaded going to school because other kids bullied him for wearing a dirty uniform. What his classmates didn't know was that his parents could only afford one uniform apiece for him and his sister, and the only time for laundry was on the weekends. So, rather than endure snide comments on his clothes and harassment, he’d skip school—and his grades suffered.

Anna called Marcus’ mother to learn more. It turned out that an aunt on disability needed 24-hour care, and Marcus’ mom recently lost her job because of poor health. And, their landlord neglected repairs like the water heater. Marcus’ mom was boiling water on the stove just so her children could bathe.

United Way quickly got help for the family, including new uniforms for the kids, and a visiting nurse to help with the aunt. They also helped the parents with their job and housing issues. Marcus’ mom found a job, and his parents used one of United Way’s housing programs to deal with their landlord concerns.

“On Track 4 Success tackles issues beyond the classroom, too, to help children—and their families—succeed,” said Anna.

On Track 4 Success connects students in need with services like those provided to Marcus, as well as academic coaching, counseling, health resources and more, to get them back on track for success in school. Currently, four schools in the area use the program.

Donate to United Way to keep kids on track to graduate so we can help more kids like Marcus. Your generosity could mean everything to a student—and a family—in need.

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