The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, VITA, program provides low- and moderate-income individuals and families with free, reliable assistance in filing federal tax returns. In 2021, thousands of VITA volunteers prepared millions of tax returns nationwide, resulting in more than $1.8 billion returning to local communities. These dollars are helping cover child expenses, pay bills, and save for the future.

FutureNow: Finance

Future Now: Finance is a hands-on financial literacy program that helps students understand some of the “realities” involved in preparing for an employable future and adulthood. At FutureNow: Finance, students receive an adult scenario based on a survey they have completed before the event. The scenario includes marital status, number of children, career field, and net monthly income (based on a choice of career field and current GPA). Students receive a profile describing their lives as 26-year-olds.  The challenges is to make ends meet. Students visit a variety of booths to “purchase” housing, transportation, communication services, child care, food, utilities, insurance, etc. They will also have the opportunity to save money, give to charity, and learn about unexpected things that affect daily life (e.g., accidents, unexpected visitors, flat tires). Community volunteers help students navigate through the booths that represent items a 26-year-old would need to pay for in a month.

Raising Active Wild Readers, RAWR

The Salina Area United Way is dedicated to increasing book ownership and combating the summer slide through Raising Active, Wild Readers, RAWR. New and gently used books are collected and distributed to youth, ages birth to 18, at summer meal sites. All youth who come for lunch on the day RAWR is at the school gets to take a book. RAWR helps children in Salina tackle two critical issues, summer learning loss, which is the loss of academic skills that occurs when school is out, and book access, helping them build their home library.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails a brand new, age-appropriate book to enrolled children every month from birth until five years of age. Participating children are creating a home library of up to 60 books and instilling a love of books and reading from an early age.

The Imagination Library promotes early childhood education and fosters parent-child and adult-child interaction - both of which are fundamental to future educational success. Research has shown that children who participate in the program gain the necessary skills that prepare them for school.

Register at the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library website, United States

Born Learning

The Born Learning Trail turns everyday activities into learning moments. The Trail is a series of 10 interactive signs which offer fun, active learning activities for young children and their families. Born Learning Trails help parents, caregivers, and communities create quality engagement opportunities when visiting Salina’s Oakdale Park.

Take the Portable Born Learning Trail with you!  Child development and daycare centers, preschools, and volunteer events. The portable Trail contains ten corrugated plastic 12" by 24" signs with indoor and outdoor stands. And a hopscotch mat all which work will for indoor or outdoor use. Both Born Learning Trails are educational. Each sign is printed with a uniquely playful, engaging activity based on early learning outcomes.