Pictured from left to right are: 2014 UWSWA Chairman of the Board and Site Director of Airbus Americas Engineering, Inc. David Trent, Leader of the Accelerated Reader program at Gilliard Elementary School Liz Curl, Principal of Gilliard Elementary School Debbie Boldin, UWSWA President and CEO Alan H. Turner II, Ryan New of BBVA Compass, Instructor for the B.C. Rain Aviation and Aerospace Academy Don Jones, Mobile Area Education Foundation CEO Carolyn Akers, B.C. Rain High School Principal Marlow Firle, and Kristi July from B.C. Rain High School

This morning, at Airbus America’s Mobile Engineering office, Airbus and the United Way of Southwest Alabama (UWSWA) announced the creation of a national education partnership between the organizations. David Trent, Site Director at Airbus Americas and 2014 Board Chair of the United Way of Southwest Alabama restated Airbus’ commitment to education. He shared that Mobile is one of five locations within the United States, where local Airbus facilities have formed an official partnership with their local United Way, to focus on community programs and services that have a positive impact in student education.

To assist in reaching this year’s goal of a one percent increase over the 2013 campaign’s total of $5,003,273, the UWSWA conducted their pacesetter campaign throughout the summer.

Since April, the pacesetter campaign raised more than $1.5 million, which is roughly 30% of the total campaign goal of $5,053,305 for 2014.

Some of our youngest students miss 10 percent of the school year—about 18 days a year or just two days every month. Chronic absenteeism in kindergarten, and even pre-K, can predict lower test scores and poor attendance and retention in later grades, especially if the problems persist for more than a year. In fact, studies have shown that kindergarten and first-grade students who miss too many days of school have trouble mastering reading by the end of third grade. Since third-grade reading proficiency is a key indicator of future success in school, it is vital we help young students and their families develop good attendance practices.

2013 was a year of focused growth.

As many of you know, in August 2010, the United Way of Southwest Alabama Board of
Trustees approved “The Building Blocks for a Better Community,” which focus on
education, health, financial stability, and essentials. This new community impact model was designed to enhance accountability and transparency while proactively targeting and addressing important human service issues facing our region.

In front of roughly 350 donors, volunteers, community leaders and community partners, United Way leaders kicked off the United Way of Southwest Alabama’s (UWSWA) 2014 campaign and declared their new priorities and community indicators.  The event was held at VIA Health, Fitness & Enrichment Center in Mobile for the third year in a row.