Sioux Empire United Way funded programs find unique solutions in providing early childhood opportunities for learning and exploration. The Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program provides a free book each month to children under five. Several childcare programs provide quality early childhood curriculum to prepare students for kindergarten. Avera Family Wellness engages early childhood families in addressing mental health care and other needs for the whole family.
Two programs provide a unique access to quality preschool programming.
Preschool Opportunities Program, through Sioux Falls School District collaborates with the District's Headstart services. The program started through a United Way initiative to create more preschool opportunities in 2008. POP now serves 68 children, who would otherwise remain, on the waiting list for Headstart each year. One family noted:
"We are thankful for Ms. Sheena. Eva has been in her class for 2 years now and her personality has become something I never would have expected since starting preschool. She has learned so many new words and started talking so much within these last 2 years. She loves coming to school and she tells us all the time how she just loves Ms. Sheena." -- Olson Family
Sioux Falls Hope Coalition, launched in part with a grant from Sioux Empire United Way in 2016. The program provides scholarship funding for preschool enrollment at several area preschool programs. This school year, Sioux Falls Hope Coalition is serving 225 students. One family noted:
"We are so truly blessed to have received the preschool scholarship through the Hope Coalition. This year has been rough and having the support of the preschool has been amazing. They truly enjoy having our son in the class and since he’s attended his speech and social skills have improved so much! Thank you so much for making it possible for my son to attend preschool."