GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – The United Way Success by 6 program celebrated its fifth anniversary on Friday at Prospect Elementary School.
It is a four-week program that helps 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds who are not quite ready for the classroom make a smooth transition. The program has helped more than 2,000 children since its inception in 2009.
“We have noticed big improvements in her writing, her spelling. She is concentrating more now and is excited, like when we go to do homework, she is all over it. She loves it,” Holly Weaver said.
United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley has invested more than $610,000 to the program since 2009. PNC Bank helps fund Success by 6.
It started in the South Range and Campbell school districts, but now there are 18 districts served by it.
“I actually wish we had something like this when my other kids were just starting. We learned so much and it is really awesome,” Weaver said.
Prospect Elementary principal Debra Gratz said students take a lot away from the program.
“From learning their letters to colors to numbers to cutting, from being away from the parents, to just learning how to stand in line, how to socialize with other children. Those are the benefits of the program,” Gratz said.
Class sizes are limited to 15 students. Participants are tested before and after the program to measure their progress in language and literacy.
“We believe the earlier we can reach these students, the better off they will be as they progress through their first years of school and beyond,” Kathy Mock, Director of Education and Initiatives for United Way said.
United Way continues to expand the program by partnering with organizations like Pizza Hut and the Oh Wow! Center for Science and Technology.