United Way clears 56% in $2.8 million campaign

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For more than four decades, The Children’s Center has quietly affected the lives of thousands of Hilton Head Island and Bluffton children. Through the 40 years, the center has grown from serving 15 children to now serving over 300 each day between the two sites.

“United Way of the Lowcountry proudly funds The Children’s Center and their wonderful work to improve children’s lives and the lives of their parents,” said Peter Post, chairman of United Way of the Lowcountry.

One of the great values of The Children’s Center is that having childcare allows parents to work.

“For 95 percent of the approximately 270 families served by The Children’s Center, a sliding fee scale means parents can continue to remain in the workforce while their children receive high quality early education and care,” said Jennifer Gauthier-Cajigas of The Children’s Center.

“With very few similar childcare options available, The Children’s Center is a crucial lynchpin in the framework of supportive resources that make it possible for our local workforce to remain employed and productive,” she said.

Added to United Way of the Lowcountry’s traditional work to provide basic needs such as quality childcare for working parents: Starting in October, volunteer reading tutors are working in eight Lowcountry schools. The goal: Ensure that students are reading at grade level when they enter fourth grade. That ties to the long-term goal to reduce dropouts by 50 percent within 10 years in all Beaufort County and Jasper high schools, said Peter Post.

As of last week, the United Way of the Lowcountry Board of Directors announced gifts and pledges have been received totaling  $1,571,344, about 56 percent of the organization’s 2012 Fall goal of $2.8 million.

“There are so many needs across Beaufort and Jasper counties, and The Children’s Center goes a long way to meeting a critical need for quality childcare for working families,” said Mike Petrelli, fundraising chairman for Hilton Head Island.

To learn more about United Way or to donate, call 843-982-3040 or visit www.uwlowcountry.org.