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United Way of Wayne County believes our community is stronger when our neighbors have food on their tables, reliable housing, and gas in their cars to get to work.  But sadly, too many families are struggling to make ends meet.


Poverty, hunger, physical and mental health, stress and trauma, are some of the factors that affect a child's learning abilities.  Likewise, if parents have literacy issues then they are unable to help their children learn.  We see the results of these factors in the 2018 NC Data Card, prepared by NC Child, which shows that only 48% of Wayne County's third-grade students scored "proficient" in reading.  That percentage is considerably lower for children from low-income families.

A child's first 2,000 days are the most important for brain development, as neurons either connect or don't connect, this will lead to their capacity to learn.  


At an early age, a child's perception of his or her abilities develop, and their ability to learn is determined largely by the ability to read.  This has also been shown to determine if a child will graduate from school on time and lead a succesful life.  

To be successful, our children will need to be prepared in ways that we, nor our parents had to be.  They will need to grow and develop into a highly skilled workforce, and our businesses will need them to be ready to take on this role.


Meeting the workforce, manufacturing, and business needs of the future means meeting the educational needs of children today.  In fact, research shows that early childhood education is not only the Key to our future workforce but also the key to many other issues in our community.  Such as;  eradicating poverty, raising standards of living,  creating vibrant, safe and inviting communities.   

"Reading proficiently by third grade requires starting before third, second and even first grade.  We must start with high-quality pre-K to lay foundations for achieving that goal, ensuring a future skilled workforce for our knowledge-driven global economy." 

Dr. Jim Goodnight


United Way of Wayne County intends to make this happen!


United Way of Wayne County will be investing over $590.000 in early learning, workforce development, and community improvements by creating the Family Learning Center.  


The Family Learning Center will take a holistic approach to address the factors that influence learning such as poverty, hunger, physical & mental health, literacy & family engagement, stress, trauma and social development.  


The Family Learning Center will focus on children 0-3 years of age and their families.  It will be located in southern Wayne County.

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