Sign me up for updates. Sign up now

You are here


Helping children and youth reach their potential in school and in the community.

United Way is actively creating lasting change in the community by positively impacting education in Olmsted County. When children and youth have strong, stable learning and growing environments, they can be more successful in achieving lifelong success and reaching their potential. Together, we're providing quality early childhood education, afterschool programs, reading tutors, mentors, youth development programs, books for children, school supplies, and more to ensure the future generations are on a path toward success.

Did you know...

  • Every $1 invested in out-of-school-time programs results in a $10.51 return with the benefits of improved school performance, reduced crime and welfare costs, and increased wages.
  • Only 51% percent of Minnesota kindergarteners are fully ready for kindergarten in the areas of language and literacy.
  • Literacy is a critical skill for school, work and life success. One in three 4th graders score below “basic” in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The programs United Way is partnering with help improve:

  • Kindergarteners' readiness for school
  • 3rd grade reading proficiency rate
  • 8th grade math proficiency rate
  • On-time high school graduation rate
  • On-time high school graduation rate for free-and-reduced-lunch eligible students

Education: United Way of Olmsted County

Our Education Programs

Gage East Apartments

On site early childhood programs will be offered at the new Gage East Apartments, a permanent, supportive housing project for children ages birth through five. All families using the program are homeless and have multiple barriers to housing and success. The focus of programming will address the social/emotional/developmental needs of homeless children. Homeless children are living in trauma and most have developmental delays. They are often not school ready and behind in grade level. Programming will focus on improving executive function, mental and physical health of the children and parenting supports.
Partner: Center City Housing Corporation

Girl Scouts ConnectZ

Girl Scouts ConnectZ provides girls in diverse and low-income communities with an all-girl, culturally-responsive leadership program that helps them learn, grow, and build skills for a successful future. Qualified, diverse staff and volunteers partner with schools and community sites to bring this high quality, skill-building program directly to girls who do not normally have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities that support essential skill development. By providing this program at sites where girls already are, at no cost to them, Girl Scouts ConnectZ addresses common barriers to participation–cost and transportation.
Partner: Girl Scouts River Valleys

LEAD Mentorship Program

The PACE (Parents and Children Excel) program was developed to respond to the needs of children and families of color who are at risk of negative educational outcomes. Most of the families served by PACE are economically disadvantaged and on free and reduced lunch. The LEAD Peer Mentorship Program is a component of the PACE Program, providing positive teen (peer) mentorships for the children on the caseload.
Partner: Olmsted County PACE

Rochester Reading Champions

Rochester Reading Champions (RRC) is an innovative program building tutoring capacity for struggling children and adult readers living in Olmsted County.  Invested partners – Rochester Public Library, The Reading Center, Boys & Girls Club and Olmsted County Adult Detention Center – collaborated to design a free and sustainable tutoring program centered on one-on-one instruction. Through RRC, volunteers are trained in the proven Orton-Gillingham Method.  Following the intensive coursework and practicum, volunteers offer tutoring twice a week for 45 minutes per struggling reader.
Partner: Rochester Public Library

Sports Mentorship Academy

Sports Mentorship Academy (SMA) is a leadership and mentoring program that helps male students in grades five through 12 overcome academic failure and juvenile delinquency. The mission of Sports Mentorship Academy is to expose male students with untapped potential to the college atmosphere, provide role models, and other positive individuals to emulate so they can become productive citizens.
Partner: Children of Destiny

Success by Six

Success by Six works to ensure young children are prepared for school success. Individually and collectively, the partners are delivering high quality early childhood education experiences by employing research based curricula and authentic assessment tools. Staff members of each organization strive to nurture and strengthen the relationships developed with the child and the family. They are committed to maximizing the potential of every child they work with, so children grow up to be fully participating, productive members of our community.
Partners: Byron Community Education, Civic League Day Nursery, Families First of Minnesota, Good News Children's Center, Tri-Valley Opportunity Council


Teen ASCENT is a partnership ensuring low-income and at-risk teens in Olmsted County have free access to out-of-school learning experiences in and about the natural world at Quarry Hill. This successful partnership blends the missions, the expertise and visions between Quarry Hill, the Boys & Girls Club and United Way of Olmsted County to ensure youth in our community are engaged and prepared to succeed.
Partners: Quarry Hill Nature Center and Boys & Girls Club

Y Mentors

Y Mentors is a community based mentoring program serving youth (grades K-12) in need of a positive adult role model and matching them with caring adult volunteers. Adult volunteer mentors are matched with youth based on similar interests for a minimum of one year.  To enhance the mentoring experience, Y Mentors provides on-going support, free monthly activities, YMCA resources, and community opportunities to foster long-term quality relationships. Mentors offer their friendship & guidance to build a healthy mind, body, and spirit in their mentee. Y Mentors serves youth in both a community-based and site-based format.
Partner: Rochester Area Family YMCA

Youth After School and Summer Programming

When the school day ends, many youth in our community are left without supervision or productive activities, putting them at risk for destructive behaviors that affect youth and the entire community. Boys & Girls Club of Rochester is a safe place that encourages sustained out-of-school participation for 1,300 youth ages six to 18. The Youth After School and Summer Program empowers children and teens to achieve academic success, practice healthy habits, develop leadership skills, and explore their creativity.
Partner: Boys & Girls Club of Rochester