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Stamford's Cradle To Career Initiative Draws Schools, Parents Out of Silos

Officials from the United Way, the city and community programs gathered at UConn-Stamford Thursday for a day of Stamford Cradle to Career Alliance workshops.
Officials from the United Way, the city and community programs gathered at UConn-Stamford Thursday for a day of Stamford Cradle to Career Alliance workshops. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky

STAMFORD, Conn. — A Stamford initiative seeks to break down the silos that separate parents, schools, nonprofits and other members of the community and instead bring them together to help Stamford youth.

The United Way’s initiative — called Cradle to Career — received widespread praise from the more than 150 community leaders who met Thursday morning at the University of Connecticut at Stamford to provide feedback on the plan.

One of the attendees, state Sen. Carlo Leone, said he saw many community leaders in the room who might be in the dark when it comes to the work of their peers.

“Sometimes not (being) aware of each other’s work can be a hurdle,” Leone said. “I think as everyone works as a collective under this concept of Cradle to Career, we can foster some great relationships to get everyone involved and moving in the right direction.”

The one-year-old program seeks to help students make the transition from school to career. It uses the StriveTogether model, which is used in cities throughout the country.

Cradle to Career's goal is to “address the academic achievement gap between low-income children and their more affluent peers.”

To ensure students are on the right track, Cradle to Career monitors students’ progress toward critical points in their academic careers. These include fourth-grade reading, high school graduation and completion of college.

The United Way will update the program’s progress in an online Community Impact Report Card.

Stamford Superintendent of Schools Winifred Hamilton said she hopes the initiative is like a building snowball that becomes larger and more impactful as it picks up momentum.

“If we’re ever going to change that ripple effect in children's lives,” she said, “It’s the work we have to do as a community not as individuals or silos.”

Stamford is the fourth city in Connecticut to get on board with the program. Norwalk, Bridgeport, and Waterbury currently run versions of it.

Those who are interested in getting involved with the program can call the United Way at 203-348-7711.

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