United Way looking for donations to fight child poverty

The Ignite Academy is introduced at General Brock Public School, May 31, 2022. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

This Giving Tuesday, the United Way of Windsor Essex is encouraging people to donate to support their Cradle to Career initiatives.

The new Ignite Academy initiative offers services to eliminate the barriers kids face in getting a good education, with the goal of ending child poverty in the community. It is currently offered in six school communities and supports over 360 students.

“It is very strong academic support, but it’s also making sure kids have food, they’re going to school with food in their belly. It’s also about making sure they have access to mental health and wellness support,” said United Way CEO Lorraine Goddard.

Right now, the community has 4,000 children living in poverty. In some neighbourhoods, like west Windsor, downtown Windsor, and Leamington, that number is as high as one in three children living in poverty.

“One of the things we really believe at the United Way is one of the clearest pathways out of poverty is through education,” said Goddard. “So our focus is really about how do we bring the system together and really wrap supports around these kids and their families so that they can seamlessly access the opportunities that maybe I’ve taken for granted for my children.”

The United Way is asking the community to consider donating to the initiative online this Giving Tuesday.  With additional donations, the Ignite Academy program can be expanded to other school communities.