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The main focus of United Way of West Alabama’s Success By 6 initiative is providing services to at risk children from birth to age five. Our mission is to help ensure that, soon, all children in West Alabama will enter first grade healthy, confident and ready to learn.

Dolly Parton Imagination Library:

o The Parton Foundation sends free books to children in designated areas monthly from birth till five years of age.
o Success By 6 implemented the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL) in September 2008.
o Currently, about 600 children receive free books each month in West Alabama.
o Since the DPIL began, almost 1,000 children have been part of the program.
o DPIL will add two additional school zones in October 2010 and will add another two school zones in January 2011.
o Expectations are for 1,000 children to receive free books each month through DPIL by March 2011.
o Research has shown children who are read to become better readers, develop critical thinking skills, and have better language skills.
o Longitudinal studies by several private and federal foundations prove that parents are reading more to their children since they have been receiving DPIL books.

Getting Ready for Kindergarten Readiness Calendar:

o Over 40,000 children in Alabama have benefitted from the calendar in its six years of production.
o The calendar is intended for all four-year-olds in Tuscaloosa County as well as additional children in other West Alabama counties.
o Prepares four and five-year-olds to enter school ready to learn
o It is an August to July calendar for the year before kindergarten. When the child finishes the calendar, it is time to begin school.
o Each month focuses on a different learning topic with suggested activities the parent/guardian and child can do together.
o The response from public Pre-K teachers, day care workers, faith based school teachers, and parents has been very positive.
o Currently, Success By 6 contracts with various organizations statewide such as Alabama Public Television and the Office of School Readiness in Montgomery to supply the calendar in other areas of the state.
o Since Success By 6 is a non-profit organization, children in Tuscaloosa County receive the calendar for free and agencies contracting with Success By 6 pay only the price for publishing.

School supplies for Pre-K, kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students.

o Have been providing supplies for the past four years
o Tuscaloosa Realtor’s Association donates school materials to Success By 6. In 2010, the realtors packed 133 backpacks to be distributed to local children.
o Publix Super Markets in Tuscaloosa donate a large number of school supplies to SB6 for distribution to local children.
o Over 300 children receive school supplies and backpacks each year through SB6.

Outstanding instructional materials and in-service training:

o Offered for all interested public school, private school, and day care teachers of three and four year olds.

Bless This Child Christmas program:

o This program helps provide clothes and toys for children during the holiday season.
o Approximately forty children receive gifts each year since this service began in 2002.

Born Learning:

o Success By 6 through its affiliation with United Way Worldwide is a national partner in the Born Learning public awareness campaign. The purpose is to educate the public about the needs of children from birth to five years of age. UWWA’s Success By 6 has distributed Born Learning material in both Spanish and English to social service agencies, day cares, and others in six West Alabama counties.

Read for the Record:

o Read for the Record is a national program designed to mobilize a record number of volunteers each year to read the same book to students across the country.  United Way of West Alabama’s Success By 6 coordinated efforts at schools in the Tuscaloosa City and County systems, Tuscaloosa child care centers, and Tuscaloosa after school programs to place volunteer readers in classrooms for this event on October 7, 2010.  In 2010, volunteers read The Snowy Day to 6,831 students in Tuscaloosa County.  Success By 6 wishes to thank Terri Saban who released a DVD shown to many area students of her reading The Snowy Day from her garden.  Success By 6 is grateful to the Black Warrior Reading Council for sharing this DVD.

Overall, volunteers in this program read The Snowy Day to 2,057,513 students throughout the United States and set an all time record!  An online vote will be cast in January 2011 to determine the 2011 Read for the Record book and the 2011 date for the event will be announced in the coming months.  Stay tuned!