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Where one woman’s search for free tax help lead her

Life as a military spouse is hard. It gets even harder when you receive word that you will soon be referred to as a former military spouse, because your soldier will not be coming home. Next comes the folded flag, and the Gold Star. The refrigerator full of casseroles from well-meaning family members. And the unanswerable questions from the children that will always bear a resemblance to the love that you have lost.

Finding Hope in the Darkest Moments

Lurenda Avery, a resident of Shelby County, Alabama, is used to seeing mountains in her backyard. But nothing could have prepared her for the uphill battle she faced in her household.

In May of 2006, Lurenda and her husband, Ben, were preparing for their first child, Olivia. Things were going well until 24 weeks into her pregnancy when she unexpectedly gave birth. Although little Olivia fought to stay alive for a week, she ultimately didn’t make it.

Instilling a Love of Reading in Young Children

Nearly one third of Florida's third graders attending public school can’t read at minimally proficient levels.  And, unless they improve their skills, these kids are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

That’s where United Way's ReadingPals comes in. We know research shows that reading aloud to kids can help them develop into strong readers – a building block for a lifetime of academic success. ReadingPals connects passionate, committed volunteers with preschoolers who need a little extra help getting ready for kindergarten.

Volunteers Feeding Bellies and Brains to Help Middle Schoolers Thrive

Middle school kids go through profound physical, emotional and social changes, and it can be a rough time for them, their parents and caregivers, and teachers, too. Research shows that strengthening the middle grades experience is critical for improving high school graduation rates.

School’s out for summer – time to pick up that book!

Most kids are ecstatic when the last day of school rolls around—and for good reason.

No more homework.

No more tests.

And no more stressing about grades.

For the next few months, they can kick back and relax—sort of.

When school’s out, educators worry that kids will fall behind and lose what they learned, experiencing what’s called the “summer slide.”

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