Angelo didn’t always like school. He was not interested in his classes and he was having a hard time with homework. “When my teacher checked it I got everything wrong,” remembers Angelo. He was also struggling to fit in socially and was having a hard time relating to his classmates. Angelo described going to school like, “being in a dark place and you can’t find the light.”
Angelo’s mom, Ann, heard about Y.O.U (Youth Organization Umbrella), a United Way partner agency, and encouraged Angelo to sign up for one of the programs. Angelo agreed to try the afterschool program and soon enough found a second family who was there to help and encourage him.
The staff at Y.O.U helped Angelo become more engaged in learning and encouraged him to take responsibility for his own education. Angelo started getting A’s and excelling in school. He made new friends and became more interested in what his future might hold. Y.O.U also taught Angelo to believe in himself. “They taught me how to not be shy and not to be nervous” said Angelo. “It’s like I found the light switch.”
Without United Way and Y.O.U, Angelo might have been another young man barely getting by in school, with no plans or hopefulness for his future. Trouble may have been ahead.
Angelo’s story — and thousands more like it — changed because of people like you.
In 2013, United Way invested $8.1 million in 66 agencies across the region that provide high quality early education and middle school programming to start and keep kids on the right track for successful learning, and ultimately, graduation.
Through proven strategies and quality programs, United Way measurably improves lives for individuals, families and our region. Join us, and change the story for those in need in greater Chicago.