We fight for the EDUCATION of every person in the Black Hills
DID YOU KNOW? Less than 50% of third graders are reading proficient in South Dakota. BLACK HILLS READS HELPS TO ENSURE CHILDREN ARE PROFICIENT READERS BY THE END OF THIRD GRADE.
Black Hills Reads is a United Way of the Black Hills education initiative. The overall goal is to help children reach reading proficiency by third grade and support partners in this process. Black Hills Reads addresses reading through five pillar areas: School Readiness, Healthy Readers, Successful Parents, School Attendance, and Summer learning. Black Hills Reads accomplishes these goals by providing advocacy for educational programs, offering pilot programs, special events and innovation grant opportunities.
Learn more about Black Hills Reads by watching the video below!
ABC in Sturgis
ABC was able to provide 10 $500 scholarships for families who did not have the resources to pay for their child to attend the Sturgis Youth Center summer program. The parents and families receiving the scholarship funds have been so appreciative of ABC's ability to offer scholarships. Without the funds, the youth would have been forced to either stay home alone during the daytime hours or go to a daycare, that did not provide the age appropriate activities that the Sturgis Youth Center is able to provide.
We fight for the FINANCIAL STABILITY of every person in the Black Hills
We make this possible by funding programs for affordable housing, financial assistance and education and transportation.
In 2021, 2,332 lives in Sturgis were impacted by these programs and services that we fund.
According to our 2019 Community Needs Assessment, lack of access to affordable housing was one of the top 7 needs in all areas throughout the Black Hills
Through United Way of the Black Hills, we were able to help 13 individuals and families get the proper resources and education to access safe and affordable housing.
Bill Wood is a Veteran who served in the U.S. Air Force from 1970-1974. He came to Habitat in need of repairing doors, windows and siding on his home in Newell. He has been a self-employed farrier for over 25 years, and though he is in his late sixties, he is still working. Between this income and social security, Bill didn’t have enough savings to cover these repairs without our help. Now, he has a home that is safe from the elements and can afford the small monthly payments to pay for these needed repairs. "I am so encouraged by the work Habitat did for me." - Bill Wood
With United Way funds, Habitat for Humanity was able to help folks like Bill get the necessary repairs done in an affordable manner so he can continue to live in his own home.
Access to Adult Education in Sturgis
Catholic Social Services UP Program
Tara is a single mother of six children and an Uplifting Parents (UP) Program participant from Meade County. With financial and emotional support from the UP program, Tara will graduate from the University of South Dakota School of Nursing in May 2020.
Each year, up to 40 Uplifting Parents clients like Tara are enrolled in the UP program and matched with a mentor to receive case management services from more than 30 partnering agencies in the UP Coalition. Clients also qualify for up to $4,800 in financial stipends and/or scholarships if they are within two years of completing a post-secondary degree.
Through all of her struggles and sacrifices, she has remained positive and looks forward to when she can provide a living wage for her family as a registered nurse, a goal that she will accomplish in just a few more months of hard work with help from the Uplifting Parents program.
More than 70 percent of all UP participants complete a degree, become financially stable and go on to provide for their families. Four UP participants graduated from college in December 2019. Tara is one of approximately 30 more UP clients across the Black Hills region who are expected to graduate in Spring 2020 from various educational institutions.
We fight for the HEALTH of every person in the Black Hills
Much of what influences health happens outside the doctor's office. If we want children to do well in school they need to be well fed and rested instead of worrying where their bed will be that night. If we want adults to have stable jobs they need access to healthcare and counseling support. In 2021, we impacted 1,465 lives in the Sturgis Area.
Access and Affordability of Food
Through United Way of the Black Hills, we are able to give families accessible and affordable food through programs such as Feeding SD, Meals on Wheels, and the Spearfish Nutrition Site.
“Our school often is overlooked by many government programs, although we have MANY students whose families are in need of resources. It doesn’t always show in the ways that are measured. We appreciate the (Feeding SD) Backpack Program and what it provides for our families. We can’t always show a need in the ways that are measurable according to the tools our education system currently uses!” - Anonymous teacher in Meade County.
Shelter from Domestic Violence
According to our 2019 Community Needs Assessment, lack of availability of temporary shelter for those escaping violence was a top 7 identified need in the Black Hills. Addressing domestic violence could also help address the mental health, substance abuse, and child abuse arenas.
“A mother with three kids lost her job because of the virus and was trying to get on unemployment. She was struggling to get approved for unemployment and could not get into contact with their offices to see what was going on. She is a single parent who lives paycheck to paycheck and her family was quickly running out of food and hygiene products. Through the UNITED We Stand COVID-19 Relief Fund, Crisis Intervention Shelter Service (CISS) was able to provide her with 5 complete meals, plus additional food items to help them. CISS also included a month’s worth of hygiene products and cleaning supplies for her family. She knows she can reach out to CISS for more items if they are still in need. When CISS showed up to her house with these items, she broke down and cried, thanking them for helping her family during desperate times. ‘We explained we wouldn’t be able to provide this assistance without the help of the United Way,’” - CISS