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The United Way of the Capital Region will again offer services to Cumberland Valley and Mechanicsburg school district students through its Ready for School Ready to Succeed program.

Heading into its third year, the program is in 14 buildings in eight local districts including Sporting Hill Elementary School in Hampden Township and the Kindergarten Academy in Mechanicsburg.

Under the program, the United Way contracts with the Capital Area Intermediate Unit to place an education liaison in each building to work directly with the teachers and staff, said Rae Lynn Cox, United Way vice-president of communications and marketing.

“They are helping to connect families to resources,” Cox said. “We want each liaison to work through the lens of the school to meet those academic and social goals the school wants the child to be meeting.”

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As each student is registered in the program, he or she receives a backpack full of school supplies along with educational material the family can use to promote reading and learning at home.

The program is an outgrowth of a 2014 needs assessment that found the community could have the greatest impact on children ages 3 to 5, Cox said. “It was not just the United Way. We worked with schools, non-profits, churches and businesses.”

From that assessment, the United Way developed the program with the goal of encouraging each child to be ready for school on day one and to be proficient in reading by the third grade. The assessment also determined that family engagement was one key to the success of each student.

The program started in 2017-2018 with three buildings in three school districts.

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Email Joseph Cress at jcress@cumberlink.com.