Dean Small FeatheredBy Dean Hybl

    The first time I ever remember hearing about the United Way was as a kid watching NFL Games on television and seeing my NFL heroes tell us that “thanks to you, it works for all of us, the United Way.” (check out one of the old videos)

    In communities all over the country, the United Way has played a valuable role for generations in ensuring that all people have opportunities to reach their human potential.

    Here in the Upstate region we are fortunate to have seven United Ways that all play an important role in enhancing our communities.
    In 2012, the seven United Ways decided to form a regional partnership around an issue that is important to all communities, early childhood learning.

    The creation of Born Learning Upstate marked the first time that the United Ways in the Upstate came together collectively to develop an initiative at a regional scale. Each United Way contributed financial support as well as staff time for the effort.

    Since the official campaign kickoff in October 2013, the campaign has included a comprehensive web site, public service announcements on local television, consistent messaging of material for doctor’s offices and born learning trails.

    The partnership is still going strong and on April 8th the Upstate United Ways announced a new partnership with local Subway shops in the Upstate that is designed to increase awareness of and help measure the usage and impact of the more than 40 Born Learning Trails in the region. The Born Learning trails are interactive opportunities for parents and children to learn, talk and explore while enjoying an outdoor activity.

    Working collaboratively to grow the message that every day moments can be learning moments for young children is an important message for parents and young children across our region. By working collectively, the seven United Ways in the Upstate are helping enhance the opportunity for success for all Upstate children.

    Dean serves as the Executive Director of Ten at the Top