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City Year Orlando Receives $100k Grant from Heart of Florida United Way to Stabilize ALICE Families


City Year Orlando was awarded a $100k unrestricted grant from Heart of Florida United Way to continue to stabilize Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) families, which accounts for nearly half of the tri-county area residents. It also represents families who were one paycheck and one crisis away from financial ruin prior to the COVID pandemic.  

“City Year and Heart of Florida United Way are working together to support students from ALICE families to ensure all young people reach their true potential,” said Jared Billings, executive director for City Year Orlando. “We believe that developing the skills and mindsets of all children and young adults contributes to strong, vibrant communities.”   

City Year will be able to continue full-time support to engage and directly support students in OCPS partner schools in the 2022-23 academic year. Teams of idealistic and dedicated AmeriCorps members serve in schools as “student success coaches” for children every day, all day, for the entire school year. City Year supports students by improving academic achievement, building social-emotional skills, and helping to positively influence the whole school culture and climate.  

“City Year has been doing tremendous work to stabilize ALICE families,” said Jeff Hayward, president and CEO of HFUW. “Given that ALICE was already one crisis away from financial ruin, many weren’t able to pay their bills or mortgages due to limited savings to get through the extended period of time brought on by the COVID pandemic. The need is even greater than it had been before and it’s our nonprofit agencies who are on the front lines working to stabilize those in need – and many for the very first time. United Way values our partnership with City Year to do this work in our community.” 

To illustrate the impact we can have when working together, below is a student success story from the 2021-22 school year, as told by a City Year Orlando AmeriCorps member serving on the Heart of Florida United Way team at Meadowbrook Middle School: 

“My story is about an eighth-grade student, “Shana.” At the beginning of the year, she was quiet, reserved and her grades were just okay. During class, she would only talk to one person. After a few months of talking with her and getting to know her more, Shana started to engage more with peers and answer questions during class discussion. Around the second quarter, Shana’s grades started to fall. Instead of letting that continue, she sought out tutoring support from City Year and started to attend tutoring consistently. Not before long, her grades improved, and she continued to open up more to her peers. Right now, she has her heart set on achieving AB Honor Roll! 

Visit Heart of Florida United Way to learn more about their impact in Central Florida and other supported programs.  

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