The overall goal of United Way Success By 6 (SB6) is to work together as a community to ensure that our children are ready to succeed when they enter kindergarten. Research clearly shows the direct connection between coming to school ready to learn and success in school which in turn equals a better chance for success in life after school.
The goal of the SB6 Initiative Mobile Learning efforts is that participating children will enter school with increased school readiness skills.
For several years, SB6 volunteers and staff have traveled throughout our service area with Wild about Reading literacy building activities in area parks to help keep enthusiasm for learning alive over the summer months. Theme-based Read-a-Rama's during winter months help connect learning activities with young children and their parents, also.
During Summer 2011, an expanded mobile learning program was piloted over a 10 week period at a targeted location to provide a quality early learning program for young children who otherwise might not have the opportunity to be involved. The program was offered for one hour on four days each week. The program utilized all components of quality early childhood education including reading, math, social skills, science, physical development, arts and music. This program was offered again in the summer of 2012 at two different locations. After that time, the program was discontinued for lack of funding and active participation.
Beginning in the 2011-12 school year, an expanded mobile learning program offerer bi-weekly preschool daycare visits. These daycare visits continue happening even today.
Partners in the expanded mobile learning program for the first year were: Marshall-Lyon County Library, Area Libraries, Head Start (WCA), Marshall ECFE Program, CitySide Townhomes, Iftiin, Inc.; Adult Basic Education, SMSU Early Childhood Program, County Childcare Associations, School Districts, Success By 6 Partners and United Way of Southwest Minnesota.
Funding for the first year of the expanded mobile learning program was provided by the Otto Bremer Foundation. Created in 1944, the Otto Bremer Foundation assists people in achieving full economic, civic, and social participation in and for the betterment of their communities. The Foundation's work to help build and maintain vibrant communities is based on the vision and legacy of Otto Bremer, whose commitment to Bremer Bank communities and to those working to make their lives better continues to guide the Foundation.
The Otto Bremer Foundation owns the majority share of Bremer Bank, and a portion of the bank's profits comes to the Foundation as dividends, enabling the Foundation to invest back in the bank communities in the form of grants and program-related investments. Organizations whose beneficiaries are residents of Minnesota, North Dakota, or Wisconsin are eligible to apply for Foundation grants, with priority given to communities served by Bremer Bank. In 2010, the Foundation provided more than $24 million in grants and program-related investments.