Child Well-being Movement

Child Well-being Movement

NOVEMBER ARTICLE

Community members and residents of McLennan County have made it clear, and I think we would all agree, that it’s time to move from talk to action when it comes to ensuring kids and families in our community are well supported. Likewise, partners across McLennan County are gearing up to take action on the Community Action Plan’s identified strategies.

This month, we want to highlight an area of the action plan that has already moved from talk to action. The Hispanic Leaders Network is coming alongside the work of the Child Well-being Movement to lead out in a language justice initiative focused on ensuring the accessibility of local resources and information in McLennan County residents’ desired language.

The Language Justice sub-committee of the Hispanic Leaders Network has defined ‘language justice’ for McLennan County as “the commitment of our community to support an individual’s fundamental right to communicate in the language in which they feel most comfortable and confident by creating multilingual spaces that foster cultural pride, diversity, and equity.”

In the Action Plan’s ‘Increase Access to Resources’ Focus Area, community members outlined a strategy to “Provide local resources (staff, programs, information) in Spanish throughout community services.” Implementation of this strategy includes the creation of a language justice plan, an awareness campaign, provision of interpreter certification classes and interpretation devices.

United Way and the Hispanic Leaders Network are working to develop this plan to be shared with entities throughout McLennan County and launch an awareness campaign focused on building an understanding of both the importance and need for language justice in our community. The plan identifies prominently spoken languages in McLennan County, community needs, and ideas for implementation of language inclusive strategies in local organizations and services. In addition, the Hispanic Leaders Network is working to become an interpretation hub by providing interpretation certification training courses and interpretation devices that can be used by local individuals or organizations for their translation needs to ensure that community meetings and events can be more language inclusive.

We are excited to see these strategies already taking shape and for the impact they will have in our community. Stay tuned for more updates about the roll-out of this initiative coming soon!

This work is made possible with funding and support from Episcopal Health Foundation.

To learn more about the McLennan County Child Well-being Movement and view the Community Action Plan, one can visit www.mclennancountychildwellbeing.org.

OCTOBER ARTICLE

McLennan County Child Well-being Video

We may not be dragon-slayers, and we aren’t quite superheroes, but we ARE a collaborative of residents and community partners dedicated to ensuring McLennan County children ages 0-5 and their families can thrive.

You may have heard the phrase that United Way of Waco-McLennan County works as a convener, a collaborator and a funder, but you may still be wondering what exactly that means and how it plays out through the McLennan County Child Well-being Movement.

As a convener, we bring people together to work towards making changes that our community wants and needs by listening to parents and residents of communities across McLennan County. This is what led us to catalyze the McLennan County Child Well-being Movement. We create spaces to convene community partners to align efforts and collaborate for change.

True collaboration, we believe, happens in partnership with professionals and service providers in our community alongside parents and residents who have dreams and aspirations for their children and families. Collaborating together in this way allows for maximum impact because no single individual or entity can tackle our community’s challenges alone, and it ensures that everyone gets their needs met. Collaboration also gives way to creative community solutions to our county’s most pressing issues and provides accountability for taking action.

Lastly, the dollars we raise thanks to YOU, allow us to invest directly into those community solutions by funding local programs that work hard to meet the needs of our community. All of the dollars we raise locally stay local through the work of McLennan County nonprofits dedicated to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to thrive. 

To learn more about the McLennan County Child Well-being Movement and view the Community Action Plan, one can visit www.mclennancountychildwellbeing.org.

This work is made possible with funding and support from both local and state-level partners: Waco Foundation, Episcopal Health Foundation, and The Texas Prenatal-to-Three Collaborative. United Way acknowledges Waco Foundation as the founding local leader of this work before it transitioned to United Way in 2018.

SEPTEMBER ARTICLE

United Way and our partners in the McLennan County Child Well-being Movement have launched a Community Action Plan designed by residents of McLennan County to address the needs of local children and families.

You may remember that in May of 2021, we released the “Are the Children Well?” report which captured the current condition of McLennan County’s children ages 0-5 and their families, and the aspirations of parents and county residents to create a community in which all children can thrive. Check out that report here. Since then, community members have continued to collaborate and develop solutions to the county’s most pressing issues, as identified in the report, which has resulted in a Community Action Plan.

The movement’s Community Advisory Board and Core Partner Team members spent countless hours (around 26, to be exact!) synthesizing a list of priority solutions shared with us by residents of McLennan County through community conversations and surveying, which has now become a set of strategies and action steps that the community wishes to see take place in support of children and families.

This Action Plan will serve as the bedrock of United Way’s work and funding strategies moving forward, and will be shared with city and county leadership and various stakeholders in an effort to aid local decision-making.

Just as it took the partnership of numerous residents and organizational representatives to design the action plan, it will take even more partners to carry out its strategies. Many county entities have already agreed to take action on these strategies and with their dedication to seeing each action step through to completion, we will see sustained progress in our community over time. This fall, these county organizations will meet to discuss next steps in partnership and develop the various components necessary for implementation of the strategies and action steps outlined in the plan.

To learn more about the McLennan County Child Well-being Movement and view the Community Action Plan, one can visit www.mclennancountychildwellbeing.org.

This work is made possible with funding and support from both local and state-level partners: Waco Foundation, Episcopal Health Foundation, and The Texas Prenatal-to-Three Collaborative. United Way acknowledges Waco Foundation as the founding local leader of this work before it transitioned to United Way in 2018.

“As a United Way CIC member, I’ve had the opportunity to champion the way forward at increasing the equity in grant-making. Collectively, we strive to move the dial in a direction whereby funded programs are representative of the communities they serve.”

Paula Solano, 2021 Community Investment Council Member

1516 Austin Ave., Suite 2
Waco, Texas 76701
254.752.2753