R4K Creates Brighter Futures

Birth to age five is the most important year in a child's development.

United Way of the Mohawk Valley (United Way MV) and our partners such as Excellus BlueCross BlueShield know that early childhood education is vital to the overall health of our community’s youngest residents. United Way MV incubated and launched R4K (Ready for Kindergarten) - a holistic approach that supports families during a child’s first years with a focus on educational, social-emotional impacts, and physical well-being.

Social and emotional skills play a huge role in success in school and life, laying the foundation for developing literacy, numeracy, and other cognitive abilities. Some examples of these skills are the ability to regulate emotions, follow instructions, share with others, and show empathy.

R4K brought a holistic approach to a child’s development by focusing on social-emotional development alongside cogitative and physical support during their first few years of life and beyond. 

r4k holistic approach

Miles between rural families and services

R4K has partnerships with several school districts in Oneida and Herkimer County already, many of which are rural communities, that struggle with access to services including healthcare.

R4K’s Family School Navigators (FSN) are placed in local elementary schools working directly with families to break down barriers that hinder a child from being ready to learn, create positive connections between school and community, and link families to services to help them thrive.

R4K partners with 24 local school districts throughout Herkimer and Oneida County to gather the information that helps United Way and its partners better identify and help our community's families and children.

United Way MV plays a vital role is to nurturing community-building programs and frameworks for innovative & programs to ensure success. This program came to a critical growth point. With the BOCES CO-SER and funding stream established it was time for it to become a standalone program. While United Way MV is no longer the administrator of R4K, we played an important role in bringing the program to this phase, making it an available service for all schools in our two-county area to partner with their vendor of choice under a BOCES OHM CO-SER agreement.

Learn through play: At-home tips

Right now, you may be thinking “wow, how can I make sure I am engaging the youngest brains in my life to help them grow?” Well, we have some at-home tips, tricks, games, and more. Check out some of the links below from the last R4K Transition Summit.

Many of the skills children can start to develop at a young age are best taught through positive interactions with adults and, well, games!

Check out this 7-year-old’s TED Talk (that’s right, she is seven years old!) She does an amazing job talking about how a game, like peek-a-boo, can make such a huge difference in a child’s development.

Support our community's future

United Way MV’s focus on early childhood development is changing our children’s future. You can help support our work in education plus dozens of funded programs, and set our community’s children up for a brighter and better tomorrow.

Donate today.

impact in action: r4k creates brighter futures