United Way MV Hosts Annual Day of Action

Creating “Born Learning” Trails for early childhood education and development in four local parks

ONEIDA & HERKIMER COUNTIES, N.Y. – United Way of the Mohawk Valley (United Way MV) was joined by volunteers on June 20th to install three additional “Born Learning” Trails at parks spanning Oneida and Herkimer counties.

United Way MV’s “Born Learning” Trails are a series of six interactive signs that offer fun, dynamic learning activities for young children and their families. The signs encourage early childhood education and learning, supporting one of United Way MV’s core focus areas. The trails offer tips and tricks based on the latest early childhood research and approved by national early learning experts and are designed to help adults interact with children to boost language, literacy development, and support early learning in outdoor everyday moments.

“Research shows that learning through play is crucial to encouraging development for young children,” said Matthew Caracas, United Way MV’s CEO. “Embedding our Born Learning Trails in local parks increases access for children and families in our community to experience the joy of learning together through engaging and educational opportunities.”

United Way MV's newest “Born Learning” Trails were added to parks in Old Forge, Rome, and Utica. Community members can enjoy the new “Born Learning” Trails at the following locations:

  • Town of Webb Park, sponsored by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and Berkshire Bank
  • Gryziec Field in Rome, sponsored by Sovena USA
  • O’Connor Park in Utica, sponsored by Lupini Construction

These three trails will join 10 already existing trails previously installed by United Way MV in Rome, Utica, Marcy, Sylvan Beach, Dodgeville, and Ilion. For the full list of United Way “Born Learning” trail locations visit unitedwaymv.org/bornlearningtrails. And be sure to check out the photo gallery here.

Community collaboration is at the forefront of United Way MV’s impact. Each trail installation was possible thanks to United Way MV, more than 20 volunteers, partnerships and assistance from each municipality, sponsorships, and in-kind donations from several local companies. Sponsors included Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Berkshire Bank, Sovena USA, and Lupini Construction. In-kind donations included Poland Sand and Gravel digging post holes in Rome and Old Forge, Stone Age Landscaping for digging post holes in Utica with equipment donated by McQuade and Bannigan, Jay-K Lumber for donating the signposts and cement needed for each installation, and a portion of lunch provided to volunteers donated by Franco’s Pizza in Ilion and Lafa Mediterranean in New Hartford.

Following United Way MV’s Day of Action volunteers attended a gathering at Pietryka Park in New York Mills to enjoy music, lawn games, lunch, dessert, and a small “Live United” gift to thank them for their time, sweat, and hard work.

To learn more and be a part of United Way MV’s impact visit unitedwaymv.org.


Day of Action Background
Each year United Way of the Mohawk Valley works with local organizations on volunteer projects in the region. In previous years, meals were packaged and donated to local food pantries, activity trails were painted on sidewalks, and murals were painted in local parks that were graffiti-covered – all throughout the area.

About United Way of the Mohawk Valley
Since 1921, United Way of the Mohawk Valley (United Way MV) has been a human service leader helping thousands of local individuals and families by bringing people and organizations together to solve our community’s challenges. As one of the area’s top funders, dozens of programs rely on United Way MV funding each year.
United Way MV is a leader in innovation through projects and initiatives addressing crucial community issues in the impact areas of health, education, and financial stability. For information about United Way of the Mohawk Valley, to donate or to get involved visit www.unitedwaymv.org, or call 315.733.4691