The United Way of King County is working to connect the community with its neighbors and to help them succeed.

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IN King County, 15,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 21 have dropped out of school and are making little or no progress toward a meaningful career. The United Way of King County wants to change that through its new Reconnecting Youth program, which is a cornerstone of this year’s fundraising campaign.

The United Way has set an ambitious goal of getting 7,500 of these young people reconnected to education and on a path toward college or career training. Each young person gets a coach or caseworker to take care of all of his or her needs, from housing to a plan of where they want to go after they earn a diploma or GED.

Like many United Way-supported programs, Reconnecting Youth takes a direct, hands-on approach toward tackling this complicated problem. The organization supports numerous programs and services aimed at the region’s most challenging problems. Donating to the United Way campaign is a good investment in the community.

The Reconnecting Youth program is closely connected with another pillar of the United Way campaign: ending homelessness. Nearly a third of the youths enrolled in the education program so far do not have a stable place to live. By 2020, the organization hopes to cut by half the number of unsheltered homeless, estimated at more than 4,500 this past January.

Other pillars of the fundraising effort include improving early education, helping families become financially stable and connecting people in crisis with the help they need. The campaign supports myriad nonprofit organizations around the Puget Sound region to do this work.

Workplace-giving campaigns are the way most people connect with the United Way. But to meet its fundraising goals and get the whole community involved in its work, the organization also depends on direct giving either through the mail or online.

Don’t have much money to give? The United Way is also a clearinghouse for community volunteers.

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