Yvonne Stanley of Joshua Learning Tree Academy shares how United Way of Central Alabama’s Success By 6 program readies children for kindergarten

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Yvonne with her students at Joshua Learning Tree Academy. Photo via United Way of Central Alabama

Only 22% of four-year-olds in Central Alabama have access to a state-funded, high quality pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) education. United Way’s Success By 6 program transforms basic childcare into a high-quality early-learning experience. Find out how Success By 6 is helping more preschool-age kids throughout the state. 

Yvonne with her skilled school readiness specialist. Photo via United Way of Central Alabama

What is Success By 6?

Success By 6 is a United Way of Central Alabama program that aims to give more four-year-olds access to Pre-K. The program works to prepare today’s preschool-age children for success in school. Using a “whole child” approach, the Success By 6 team focuses on children’s cognitive skills as well as their social and emotional development. United Way of Central Alabama has implemented this program in 68 Pre-K classrooms since 2005. 

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How Does It Work?

During the past year, Success By 6 distributed more than 9,142 books, helping 882 young children be better prepared for success in kindergarten.

Skilled ‘School Readiness Specialists’ go into an existing Pre-K or child-development center to learn more about the learning environment and the children. Once they get to know the children and their teachers, the specialists begin mentoring the teachers on best practices and quality early-learning standards. From there, Success By 6 provides classroom materials, training and side-by-side technical assistance throughout the school year. Also, Success By 6 provides child-development centers with grant-writing support and connections to additional partners in preparation for sites to apply to obtain state Pre-K funding.

Yvonne works with her school readiness specialist on a plan for her students. Photo via United Way of Central Alabama

Success By 6 outreach efforts include:

  • Free books distributed each year to partner classrooms and at our annual Read and Romp event
  • Family activities encouraging parental engagement to make learning fun
  • School supply distribution to get tools for success to children in need
  • Referrals via United Way’s Help Me Grow program, linking families to health and developmental resources so children can start school healthy and ready to succeed.
  • Volunteer engagement to improve the learning environment and serve as positive role models for children. 

Joshua Learning Tree Academy in Tarrant: Yvonne’s Story

Yvonne is surrounded by support from her community and from United Way of Central Alabama. Photo via United Way of Central Alabama

Yvonne Stanley is director and owner of Joshua Learning Tree Academy in the city of Tarrant. Stanley and her team at the center received help and training from United Way of Central Alabama’s Success By 6 program. 

“Before Success By 6 came to Joshua Learning Tree, we were not structured and we were all over the place,” said Stanley. “They came and they gave us structure. They gave us ideas on how to help kids to learn, and to progress.”

Stanley works hard to prepare the children at the learning center with the foundation to have a bright and successful future, and Success By 6 has strengthened and updated her programs. 

“Donating to United Way helps me to build a solid foundation for the kids and to prepare them to go to school. It helps to impact their future.”

Help Others, Help Yourself

Your donation to United Way of Central Alabama helps make a difference in the lives of your community members. Photo via United Way of Central Alabama

If Stanley’s story impacted you, please visit the Success By 6 site to learn more about the program and to find out how many more schools are being helped. Just like Stanley, the owners and directors of the daycares and learning centers across Alabama are hoping to positively impact the lives of their students. In hopes that their students are prepared for kindergarten, they have relied on the support of United Way of Central Alabama’s Success By 6 program. This support comes from the generosity of donors in Central Alabama.

Donate Today

“You never know who you’re helping when you contribute to United Way. You may be helping your friend, your neighbor, your family member; and then again, you could be helping yourself. “My Grandmother used to say, ‘Give to the world the best that you have, and the best will come back to you’.” 

John Barnes, UW Volunteer 

The staff at United Way of Central Alabama gives its best every day. Please consider donating today to support their wonderful programs, and to enrich the lives of those in your community and across the state. 

Sponsored by:

United Way of Central Alabama
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Lauren Bedford
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