United Way of Central Georgia (UWCG) announced today the promotion of Dr. Shelton Land to Vice President Education. Dr. Land, a seven-year veteran of UWCG, will be responsible for overseeing the organization’s Birth to Eight initiatives that include ReadUnited, FIRST STEPS, and Parents as Teachers. UWCG has been strategically focused on disrupting family poverty, with educational supports as the cornerstone of its strategy. Under Dr. Land’s leadership UWCG will continue expanding these key programs into more counties, and provide additional educational supports beyond the age of eight.
Eight years ago, only 38% of Bibb County 3rd graders were reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade. Research has shown that children not reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school. United Way launched ReadUnited to pair volunteer tutors with K-3rd grade students identified as needing additional reading supports beyond the scope of the classroom. With support from ReadUnited, the Bibb County School District has nearly doubled the number of 3rd graders now reading on grade level.
PARENTS AS TEACHERS
PAT, an evidence based internationally recognized program, provides parent education and family support to families with children ages newborn to 5 years old. PAT also provides prenatal support to expectant mothers. Parent educators are assigned to each family to help equip parents with the knowledge and resources to give a child the strongest start in life and in school.
Starting with parents as early as expectant mothers, FIRST STEPS provides families with children birth to 5 years of age with parenting information on topics relevant to parent and child health and safety. It produces a guide containing information on community resources appropriate for expectant parents and children birth to five and their families. It also serves as the entry point to United Way’s Parents as Teachers program.
“In my new role as the VP of Education, my goal is to spur the growth of all the [UWCG] educational initiatives across our 14-county service footprint. We will build upon and optimize the impact of our educational initiatives, improving and increasing high school graduation rates and community well-being of families across Central Georgia,” said Dr. Shelton Land. “I will lead intentionally, strategically, and collaboratively to accomplish this goal, and work to advance UWCG’s overall mission of disrupting the cycle of family poverty.”
”Shelton has been an integral part of growing ReadUnited for the past 6 years, and we are thrilled to promote him to this newly created position,” said George McCanless, President and CEO of United Way of Central Georgia. “Shelton and the ReadUnited team have been recognized nationally for the quality of our program and having him in this new role will help ensure the expansion of these programs across Central Georgia.”