Posted by | CDS



By Dana McConnell, CDS Executive Director

With school back in session, the once-filled shopping aisles of endless supplies now lay bare or picked over.  Some families were able to take advantage of the tax-free weekend.  Others shopped early to ensure they had the best selections available.  Several organizations, including the United Way, gave out backpacks filled with supplies to any child still needing these essential tools.

Being ready and prepared for school is the first of three phases in the Cycle of Success.  This cycle ensures that children enter school ready to learn.  It supports early childhood programs that help children hit key developmental milestones.  They also have programs over the summer like Camp iRock and BOOST which provide educational activities to help prevent a learning gap between sessions.

The next phase in the Cycle of Success is high school graduation.  Students who graduate increase their chances for lifetime success.  One new initiative called “On Track Greenville” is a comprehensive, evidence-based dropout prevention strategy that is funded in part by the United Way.  This initiative is designed to support middle school students and their families on the basis that if we can keep students in school, they are more likely to graduate.

High school graduates generally get better paying jobs than those who do not graduate which allows them to be more financially stable – the third and final phase of the Cycle of Success.  When adults earn a livable wage with health benefits, it helps to provide a stable home.  And when children grow up in stable homes, they are more likely to be ready for school.  The cycle for success then begins again for the next generation. The United Way also partners with community resources to offer job training and money management classes to increase the earning and savings potential for families.

Why mention this now?

From August to November, the United Way launches an annual campaign through local businesses.  At campaign meetings, employees within each company have the chance to be a part of something bigger in harnessing the power of collective giving.  Pledges can be made as a one-time gift, or yearly through payroll deductions.  These funds are then pooled together and often matched by company funds to increase the amount collected.

Where do these donations go?

Donations made to the United Way are allocated to Upstate charities who offer programs that align with a funding strategy, like the Cycle of Success.  Another funding strategy is called Life Essentials which meets the basic needs in our community.  These include stable housing, food assistance, medical care, and safety from abuse.  For a full listing of all Greenville County United Way funded programs, please visit

The Center for Developmental Services (CDS) is proud to be one of the charity recipients of United Way funding.  We help children and young individuals with developmental delays, disabilities, and special needs get the resources they need for success.  Since many of the children we serve have life-long disabilities like autism, cerebral palsy, or Down syndrome, we fall into the Life Essentials strategy.  CDS offers community tours to groups or individuals wishing to see the impact of their United Way donations.  Please call us at 864-331-1314 to learn more or to schedule a tour.

Contributions to the United Way are an investment in your community.  Please join me this campaign season by making a pledge.