Goals for Living United

by Melissa Brunner

I find goals helpful in my life. For example, it's easier to make myself add distance to my daily runs when I know there's a half-marathon on the calendar. Likewise, I buckle down and set up interviews for a special project when I know it's hitting the air in two weeks.

The United Way of Greater Topeka took the challenge of setting goals for our community - goals they'll work with area organizations, business and individuals to meet over the next decade. Unveiled Wednesday at their annual meeting, the goals are: 

1: Increase by 50 percent the number of children who start kindergarten with the pre-literacy skills necessary for success in school

2: Reduce by 50 percent the achievement gap in 3rd grade reading and 6th grade math for low socio-economic status students

3: Cut in half the number of low-income families and individuals who are financially unstable

4: Reduce by 10 percent the number of adults who are overweight and obese

5: Reduce by 20 percent the number of 6th thru 12th graders who illegally use substances (drugs & alcohol)

These are measurable goals that will take targeted action to achieve. Make no mistake, a lot of people already are working on these issues. By making these publicly targeted goals, the United Way hopes to gain renewed focus and new support for these efforts. Reading the list, I'd say the goals are on target with the major challenges facing our community.

I'll be interested to see how making these our community's goals changes or spurs action. No matter what, it will take a community effort to reach them. What do you think? Good goals? And what are your ideas for meeting them? I'm sure all suggestions would be welcome!

 Want to get involved? www.unitedwaytopeka.org




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