children in a classroom raising hands

Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. It is essential to getting and keeping a job with a livable wage and health benefits, and it is fundamental to a community’s economic prosperity: a well-educated workforce attracts world-class jobs.

United Way of Pickens County seeks to help children and youth achieve their potential through education and has established a bold goal that 70% of 3rd graders will be reading on grade level by 2025.

Your gift to support United Way's educational initiatives ensures that:

  • Children begin school ready to learn.
  • Young children achieve their academic potential.
  • Parents and guardians are focused on their child's academic success and are engaged in their child’s intellectual, emotional and social growth.

Camp iRock

United Way of Pickens County has partnered with the School District of Pickens County, the Pickens County YMCA, and the Call Me MiSTER Program to address summer learning loss through Camp iRock. Camp iRock is a summer program for struggling readers in rising Kindergarten - 4th grades with a proven success record. Learn more.

Preschool Pages

Women United's signature program, Preschool Pages, is a partnership with local elementary schools to support the development of early literacy skills in preschoolers in the community. Young children and their caregivers participate in story time and related crafts and activities which helps these young learners develop important early literacy skills while learning that school is a safe and nurturing place. You can support children by donating books or funds for books, ensuring that each child can take a book home from the program to build their home library. Learn more.

Born Learning

United Way of Pickens County has joined the United Ways of the Upstate Born Learning partnership with other Upstate United Ways, in order to collaborate on increasing public awareness about the importance of early childhood development in the Upstate.  The collaboration will provide resources for parents and caregivers and generate awareness among the public and public policy leaders. Learn more.

Bright By Text

Bright By Text is a free subscription based texting service, in partnership with Pickens County First Steps, which promotes the learning, development and health of children prenatal through eight years old. Bright By Text provides two to four text messages per week on topics such as brain development, games and activities, health and wellness, STEM, safety, and more. Parents and caregivers with children under 8 can text the word SCKIDS to 27448 to sign up. Learn more.

2023-2024 Community Impact Grant Awards

The volunteer driven Education Impact Council received and reviewed grant requests from the community to fund high quality programs that further United Way's mission to improve 3rd grade reading. The following programs were approved for 2023-2024.

East End Elementary: Parent University

Parent University workshops will be held in the evenings for parents with children of all ages.  The workshops will give parents information on how to grow their children as readers. Parents will learn what their child’s reading level is, what their MAP score is, and instruct them on how they can help their child improve.  Incentives and rewards will be given to parents for attending.  The grant includes the purchase of a book vending machine for 3rd graders, which will be used to incentivize improvements in reading.

McKissick Academy: Parents as Learners

PALS program (Parents as Learners) will hold evening events for parents to address their child’s reading (family literacy, getting ready to read, growing readers, and reading and writing at home).  There will be incentives for parents to attend.  Parents with children K-3rd grade can attend.  The grant also will include after-school tutoring for struggling readers. 

Pickens County First Steps: Reach Out and Read

Expansion of Reach Out and Read program to two additional pediatric offices in Pickens County.  Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based national pediatric literacy program through which pediatricians, as part of routine primary care for young children, are trained to offer parents anticipatory guidance about the importance of reading aloud.  Free books are given to young patients to take home.


For more information about the Education programs offered through United Way of Pickens County, contact Karen Culley, 864-850-7094, ext. 102.