A new local chapter of community-minded women have taken on a mission to better prepare the next generation for success.

“Women United” is an initiative through United Way that aims to promote women in philanthropy and volunteer work. Livingston County United Way is establishing a local chapter of Women United, whose steering committee has been meeting together for the last year to determine what the group’s overarching and specific goals are. Livingston County United Way Executive Director Nancy Rosso says the local chapter’s first goal is to partner with the Livingston Educational Service Agency (LESA) in their "Talking is Teaching" campaign to measurably improve third-grade reading over the next five years. She says the evidence-program, which is being implemented across the state, is "turning up the heat" on reading and literacy.

Rosso tells WHMI the chapter adopted “growing great kids” as their mantra after learning that 42% of the county’s third-graders are failing to meet proficiency standards in reading, adding that 28 classrooms have been identified as being at risk for a lack of exposure to books and reading support resources.

The chapter is encouraging area women to get behind their initiative to change that with an inaugural event, “Growing Great Kids”. Rosso says the fun evening will feature local comedians and include hors d'oeuvres, desserts, and a drink ticket, but will also promote the chapter’s mission with field experts and stations that educate guests on how they can get involved. Speakers will discuss the various ways to improve reading proficiency, like adopting classrooms, volunteer work, and more hands-on experiences.

The event will be held Thursday, June 6th, at Cleary University’s Johnson Center in Howell from 6 to 8pm. The cost is $30 per person and all proceeds from the event will be invested in children’s literacy; however there is no cost to become a chapter member. Anyone interested in attending is asked to RSVP by this Friday, May 24th. You'll find details at the link below. (DK)