The importance of good health can't be overstated. Without it, it’s hard to get an education, keep a job or support a family. Success in life starts with good health.
I was recently reminded of the importance of a healthy start in life at the World Policy Conference, where I moderated a panel on youth education and success in the 21st Century. One panelist was Dr. Juliette Tuakli, the CEO and Chief Medical Officer of CHILDAccra in Ghana.
Dr. Tuakli, a member of United Way Worldwide’s Board of Directors, said the following when asked about educating young people: “There is nothing more painful than children with access to education who are unable to learn because of their sub-optimal health. That’s extremely painful to observe, because it’s preventable.”
She’s right. That's why United Way is committed to making sure that more young people – and all people – around the world are healthy enough to lead lives filled with greater opportunity.
With partners like Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we're helping people connect with their neighbors to transform the communities in which they live, work and play. Equipped with data and resources from corporate and foundation allies, United Way is shaping effective community-based programs that boost:
- Healthy beginnings, by helping families give their child a healthy start through United Way Born Learning and similar early education programs;
- Physical health, helping children learn nutrition and exercise habits to fuel success in school and life, and
- Access to health, helping people enroll in health insurance and get the services for which they're eligible.
Across the 1,800 communities we serve, we're finding solutions to the toughest problems – and involving volunteers in improving their own communities. Whether it's building playgrounds in Flint, Michigan, providing school girls in India with sanitation facilities, or connecting veterans in Georgia to mental health resources through MISSION UNITED, we're fighting for every community to address its health challenges.
Our goal: 90 percent of people in the U.S. will be healthier by 2028. When communities come together to support children, senior citizens and others in need, we're making the entire community better -- and healthier. Join us by volunteering with your local United Way today to make your community healthier.