United Way Community Investment Priority:
Provide opportunities to develop positive social and cognitive skills and to educate and support parents and kids to build stronger families.
Strong, healthy families are important building blocks for strong, healthy communities. To support the healthy development of children and youth, young people need positive family communication, caring schools and neighbourhoods, and positive role models.
Windsor-Essex County has been experiencing many challenges, and this has affected our community's families - there has been an increase in crisis calls and requests for emotional support, as well as a 50% increase in child mental health referrals in Windsor-Essex. Self-reported drug use is higher among local high school students than the rest of the province. Parents and children need opportunities for education and support to build positive relationships with each other and those in their community.
United Way will invest in programs and services which focus on:
- Youth engagement
- After-school programs
- Children's social and cognitive skill development
- Individual and family supports
- Parent (caregiver) education and support
Why it matters:
- More than 16% of children 18 years and younger in Windsor-Essex live in low-income households.
- In 2009, 94,000 visits to local food banks were by families with children.
- In 2008-2009, there were 3,331 referrals to the Children's Aid Society regarding child abuse. Abuse ranged from neglect to domestic violence and sexual and physical abuse.
- Between September 2006 and June 2008, there was more than a 50% increase in reported child mental health cases in Windsor-Essex County.
- In 2009, more students in grades 7 to 12 in the region reported drug use and other drug-related behaviours, as compared to the provincial average. This was true across most drug categories.
- Windsor-Essex County youth and 'at-risk' youth will participate in programming that promotes active community engagement and improvement through philanthropy, decision-making and governance.
- School-aged 'at-risk' youth in under-serviced areas of Windsor-Essex County will participate in after-school programs where they will improve social-cognitive skills, improve school engagement and/or academic performance, and develop healthy habits by promoting positive choices and opportunities for leadership.
- Youth 'at risk', ages 7 to 18, will develop long-term positive trust relationships with adults that promote choice, positive decision-making and empowerment.
- Existing youth support/service skills to providers will have increased skills and knowledge regarding how to strengthen the social and cognitive development of youth.
- Individuals, seniors and families in crisis have timely access to the immediate social and cognitive supports they require, and are effectively connected with sustainable community-based support networks and opportunities that build on existing individual and family strengths.
- Parent supports and effective child-parent (caregiver) attachment opportunities will build on the existing skills of parents (caregiver) and their children.
United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex will focus its energy and resources on Supporting Basic Needs & Independence, Positioning Kids & Families for Success and Creating Thriving Neighbourhoods. The following strategies
are being supported by United Way in order to achieve these initiatives.