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Cradle To Career

United Way is all-in on the Cradle to Career Model (C2C)

Imagine if we could eliminate childhood poverty in Windsor-Essex County. Imagine if every local child had the chance to succeed and reach their full potential regardless of the postal code they live in.

But how can we make an impact on such a complex problem as poverty? First, we need to accept that it IS a COMPLEX problem. History has shown us that when we focus on only 1 obstacle at only 1 point in a child’s life, it may not have the strongest lasting impact. We must create multiple solutions to help children at multiple key stages throughout childhood.

The Cradle to Career Model wraps supports around children, youth, and their families where they are needed most. The strategy leverages the combined investments of a broad cross-section of community partners through a community collective called ProsperUs.

Cradle to Career partners value equity. This means that some kids in certain neighbourhoods need more help than others in order to level the playing field. Targeted investments and supports in communities that need it most based on and supported by data. With a focus on quality and results, these supports will ensure that children and youth are successful at key measurable milestones.

Cradle to Career Milestones:

Research has shown again and again that education is the best path out of poverty. United Way’s Cradle to Career programming currently focuses on helping kids achieve 4 key milestones:

  • Being proficient in reading in grade 3
  • Being proficient in math in grade 6
  • Graduating high school on time
  • Successfully entering a post-secondary program in either the skilled trades, college, or university

We are targeting Cradle to Career investments in neighbourhoods where the data tells us more help is needed to support children and families. By supporting those most in need, our whole community can thrive. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we can help change the life trajectory for local kids through education. Every child deserves the chance to reach their full potential.

Milestones 4 & 5: Graduating High School, Post-Secondary & Career Readiness

Trends suggest that by 2030, all jobs will require post-secondary education – be it trades, college or university. A child’s chance to succeed in life should not be determined by the postal code they live in or by factors beyond their control. We need to level the playing field.

On Track to Success is a wrap-around intervention for high school students and their families to help them graduate high school, and go on to college, university, or a trade.

The program wrap-around supports include: a success coach for each student and their family that focuses on family well-being and academic success; access to academic tutoring four times a week; social supports and career mentoring; up to $8,000 in post-secondary bursaries and additional financial supports to remove barriers to success such as: transportation, school supplies, technology, mental health supports.

On Track To Success – changing families’ lives for the better

A key pillar of the On Track To Success (OTTS) program is the wrap-around supports available to each student and their family. You might ask, what exactly does wrap-around supports mean? Danielle, the parent of an OTTS student, tells us in her own words what these supports are and the positive impact they have had on her daughter as well as her whole family.

On Track to Pay it Forward – Mohamed’s Story

The On Track to Success program provided support that was crucial for Mohamed to succeed and had a big impact on his life. He was able to connect with a tutor who understood his learning style and helped him get through that very difficult time. “Without that help, I would not have been able to pass my class. I am forever thankful for the support that I received from the OTTS program.” says Mohamed.

Milestones 2 & 3: Meeting Elementary Math and Literacy Standards

Kids deserve the chance to reach their full potential. We need to stop kids from falling behind their more affluent peers and set them up for success in high school.

The success of the On Track To Success program showed us that a wrap-around approach is the key to supporting kids and their education. Ignite Academy’s wrap-around supports include: healthy and nutritious food for kids during the program and to bring home to their families; individualized tutoring sessions; regular 1 on 1 personal connections and mental wellness sessions; Social workers to help the family connect with vital community resources and special events that provide opportunities for caregivers to connect and create a personal support system with others who truly understand what their life is like and what challenges they and their families are facing.

We saw great results from a pilot program at 2 schools that offered individualized literacy intervention to kids who were furthest behind in reading. The kids’ reading levels were boosted by over half a grade level in only 5 weeks! We are excited to expand this intervention to include literacy and math at all 6 Ignite Academy schools throughout the entire 23/24 school year.

Ignite Academy Student Spotlight: Dominik & Soheila

Ignite Academy represents hope for students like Dominik and their families. For Dominik’s Grandmother Soheila, the program is incredibly important because it brings out generosity and kindness in students and provides a sense of safety.

Daniel’s Journey: From Struggles to Smiles

Meet Daniel, who struggled at school but found skills for success and happiness at Ignite Academy. His journey not only changed his life but also helped shape the program experience for kids like him with specialized needs.

How are we targeting resources to produce equitable outcomes?

Initial community engagement processes were undertaken using innovative approaches like Street Outreach Teams and Data Walks. These shared experiences and data were used to construct an index for the City of Windsor and the County of Essex. The indices include 20 neighbourhood-level indicators consisting of demographic, economic, health, education and civic and safety outcomes. Once compiled, the data was ranked, and key neighbourhoods were identified based on the level of need. Three clusters of neighbourhoods emerged – Downtown Windsor, Leamington and West Windsor.

These three neighbourhoods face some of the greatest barriers to children and youth success in our region. Some examples of these barriers include high rates of poverty and lower concentrations of community wealth, poorer educational attainment and outcomes, evidence of poorer health outcomes, concentrations of potentially vulnerable demographic groups like single parents and higher rates of youth crime.

Neighbourhood Opportunity Index

HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Check out the just released Neighbourhood Opportunity Index interactive dashboard. To make the NOI’s insights more accessible and engaging for the community, we have introduced dashboards that are specifically designed to empower the wider community, offering a way to dive into and interpret the wealth of data available. By leveraging these tools, community members, local organizations, and policymakers can gain a clear understanding of the youth opportunities landscape in Windsor-Essex and understand why resources will continue to be targeted to three priority neighbourhoods.

The data and research used to develop the NOI interactive dashboard is referenced in the 2024 ProsperUs technical report Youth Success: Harnessing Insights for Collective Impact.

Moving to collective impact, what’s the difference?

ProsperUs’ mission is to transform the conditions in our region to dramatically improve the outcomes for children and young people of Windsor-Essex County, from the time they are born until they complete post-secondary education and enter the workforce full time.

United Way has a unique role in this collective – we are the proud Backbone Organization for the Cradle to Career strategy. As the Backbone Organization, we’re guiding the work, engaging with residents, convening partners, and supporting partners to drive results.

One of our most critical roles is to engage and build the capacity of other community partners and residents to participate in this work. To do this, we’ve taken on the role of evaluation of the community solutions, which includes the collection, management and analysis of program data. This data is critical to our success – helping us to continuously improve and report results. We’re also a member of the ProsperUs Investor’s Table, a collective of partners who have committed to financially sustaining the work of the Cradle to Career strategy. This work would not be possible without the support of countless partners, donors and volunteers.

By donating to United Way, you’re supporting the ProsperUs Cradle to Career strategy.

ProsperUs Vision

Every young person in Windsor-Essex County has the opportunity and support to succeed – from cradle to career.

To transform whole communities, we must think beyond individual programs and services and see ourselves as a united system that produces more equitable outcomes for children. That includes supports that create stable and healthy families.

Visit the ProsperUs website to learn more.

Youth Success: Harnessing Insights for Collective Impact

This report highlights the persistent needs in Windsor-Essex County, focusing on priority areas such as Downtown Windsor, West Windsor, and Leamington, based on data from 2019 to 2023. It underscores ProsperUs’s commitment to transformative change through innovative data-sharing agreements and data-driven insights, ensuring equitable and effective interventions for youth.

Cradle to Career 2022 Winter Update Report

ProsperUs is a collective of local organizations, residents and service providers working together to build a better future for children and families. The Winter Update Report outlines progress on the collective’s Cradle to Career strategy, which aims to help children succeed from the time they’re born until they find their first meaningful job.

Coming Together: Building a hopeful future for children and youth in Windsor-Essex County

Coming Together – Building a Hopeful Future for Children and Youth in Windsor-Essex County is the first major milestone report for ProsperUs. The report outlines the history, vision, strategy and neighbourhood indicators that ProsperUs will focus on as we transform our community and lives – together.

Who are the community partners working with United Way on the new direction?

We’re working with a broader cross-section of community partners than ever before.

Solutions will be delivered by community organizations serving children, youth and families that have experience in each solution area (Ignite, OTTS etc.) and have the capacity to deliver the desired impact. These organizations can be registered charities, not-for-profit organizations, or grassroots groups with deep ties to children, youth, and families in the priority neighbourhoods

  • Ignite Academy partners: Multicultural Council, Big Brothers Big Sisters, South Essex Community Council, Arts can Teach, Immaculate Conception School, St. James School, Begley Public School, Brock Public School, Queen Elizabeth Public School and St. Louis School, GECDSB and WECDSB, University of Windsor – Faculty of Education
  • OTTS partners: Westview Freedom Academy, Assumption High School, Kennedy Collegiate, Catholic Central, Cardinal Carter, Leamington District Secondary School, GECDSB, WECDSB, Maryvale, Bana, WECAS, Youth Wellness Hub, WECHC, University of Windsor, St. Clair College
  • 160+ resident participants in the Community Action Network (CAN) Working Groups: Local residents are at the heart of the work, building solutions with partners that will best serve their neighbourhoods.
  • ProsperUs Leadership Council & Investor’s Table
  • 40+ partners: BMO Financial Group, City of Windsor, Collège Boréal, Connecting Windsor-Essex, Conseil scolaire catholique Providence, County of Essex, CUPE Local 543, Erie Shores Healthcare, Erie St. Clair LHIN, FCA, Greater Essex County District School Board, Green Shield Canada, Hôtel Dieu-Grace Healthcare, Invest WindsorEssex, John McGivney Children’s Centre, Leamington & District Chamber of Commerce, Libro Credit Union, Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services, Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Citizenship & Immigration, Ministry of Training, Colleges & Universities, Municipality of Leamington, New Canadians’ Centre of Excellence, Ontario Provincial Police, Ontario Health Steering Committee, Royal Bank of Canada, St. Clair College, South Essex Community Council, TD Canada Trust, Tepperman’s, The O’Neil Foundation, Toldo Foundation, Unifor Local 444, United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County, University of Windsor, Windsor & District Labour Council, Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society, WindsorEssex Community Foundation, Windsor-Essex Community Housing Corporation, Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, Windsor Police Service, Windsor Regional Hospital, Workforce WindsorEssex