Our Impact


We believe in Lebanon County’s potential to be a thriving community, a community where every person has access to resources they need to succeed. Through a focus on collaboration between organizations and citizens of the county, we will make a measurable impact on long-term, systemic issues within our communities. Through our 2017 Needs Assessment, along with conversations held with our neighbors throughout the county, we have determined that the biggest areas of need and opportunity are increasing literacy rates in our young students, connecting our youth to school and community, empowering adults and families, and ensuring access to safety net services for members of our community in times of crisis. 

Approximately 1/3 of our children are not reading on grade level by the third grade, which is a milestone that impacts their ability to learn going forward in their education. Up until third grade, children learn how to read. After that, they need to be able to read to learn. 

By working together as a community, we can make sure all children have access to the resources they need to be reading on grade level by the end of third grade while building a culture for our county’s youngest learners that encourages a love of reading. 

Early Intervention Program

  • Lead Organization: Developmental and Disability Services of Lebanon Valley (DDS)

Early Intervention therapists and teachers offer parents and caregivers much needed support by providing necessary building blocks early in life for a child with a disability or developmental delay that can assist them in achieving greater success upon entering kindergarten. The program provides positive reinforcement and education for parents and caregivers to serve as teachers and motivators for their children. Services include home based teacher who specializes in the child's social, cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs; physical and occupational therapy to assist in development of motor skills; and speech and language therapy. 

Myerstown Community Library Raising A Reader Initiative

  • Lead Organization: Myerstown Community Library 
  • Additional Participating Organizations: Jackson Elementary School 

The Myerstown Community Library is implementing a nationally established family engagement and literacy program, "Raising a Reader," to make a measurable increase in early childhood literacy skills in Jackson Elementary kindergarteners. Before school begins, parents and caregivers receive book-sharing training by a certified librarian. Students receive a bag filled with a selection of books provided by the library. Each week, students exchange their bag for a new selection of books. The program encourages children and their families to establish literacy routines, which are invaluable to the school readiness and academic success. In addition, the program helps teachers and library staff build stronger engagement with and inclusion of families in the educational success of their children. 

Summer Learning Program

  • Lead Organization: Lebanon County Library System
  • Additional Participating Organizations: Annville, Lebanon, Matthews, Myerstown, Palmyra, and Richland Libraries

The summer learning program available throughout Lebanon County engages children and families in interactive, literacy-based activities to foster a lifelong love of reading in children from birth-ten years old. This program aims to reduce the “summer slide” children experience when school is out of session. By connecting youth to positive literacy experiences outside of school walls, children develop an appreciation for reading that helps lead to academic success and a love of reading and learning that extends beyond their education. 

Born Learning Trails

Born Learning Trails turn taking a walk into an interactive, learning experience. The two Trails currently in Lebanon County are at Northwest Elementary School and across from the Lebanon Community Library. The Trails are a series of 10 interactive signs that offer fun, active learning activities for young children and their families. They help parents, caregivers and communities create quality engagement opportunities 

Little Free Libraries

We have placed a Little Free Library in a neighborhood within each school district in Lebanon County. Anyone is welcome to take a book or leave a book for others to enjoy. Little Free Libraries inspire readers , build communities, and expand access to books for everyone. 

Reading Friends

Our Reading Friends volunteer program puts community volunteers right into our local elementary classrooms to read with students both in small groups and one-on-one depending on the needs within the class. This program supports our both our children and teachers in our goal of increasing early childhood literacy within Lebanon County. Find out more here...

Spring Into Reading Fest

Each year on our Day of Caring, we collaborate with other local stakeholders in early education to host a Spring Into Reading event. The event brings together local nonprofits to engage with families about their services while offering an interactive learning activity. There is live entertainment and book readings as well. Children leave with free books and tools that encourage a love of reading that they can carry with them throughout the summer and beyond. 

Stuff the Bus

Many students and families are struggling in our community, leaving them unable to afford basic school supplies for their children. Each year we hold a school supply drive to provide these vulnerable students with a backpack full of supplies, so they can start the school year off with what they need to succeed. 

Kindergarten Registration 

If your child turns five(5) before September 1, 2021, here's where to get the information you need to register for kindergarten:

Any questions about kindergarten registration should be directed accordingly to your child(ren)s school district.


14% of Lebanon County residents do not have a high school diploma, leaving them 2x more likely to live in poverty and at higher risk of incarceration. 

We need to engage children and youth in school and their community to encourage them to build upon their strengths and helps them gain the education, skills, character, and values needed to be successful, productive adults.

Freer Family Community Youth Center

  • Lead Organization: Lebanon Valley Family YMCA 

The Freer Family Community Youth Center provides a safe environment for middle and high school youth after school dismissal each day during the academic year and during the summer break. 

Palmyra Education & Health Collaborative

  • Lead Organization: Phoenix Youth Center
  • Additional Participating Organizations: Palmyra Public Library, Caring Cupboard, Palmyra Area School District, Palmyra Church of the Brethren, Palm Lutheran Church, Palmyra - a Caring Community, Penn State Health, Lebanon Family Health Services

This collaboration seeks to break the barriers for children ages three through eighth grade to improve academic performance, ensure equal access to educational opportunities, and increase family security. Palmyra Public Library will provide Little Explorers Early Learning Outreach classes to children ages three -five including literacy, STEM, motor skills development, and social interaction skills as well as free lunch provided by The Caring Cupboard. In addition to providing nutritional food for the children, The Caring Cupboard serves as a community navigator for families in need to provide information and direct them to support services that can help their situation. Phoenix Youth Center offers afterschool homework help and informational workshops from children grades three through eight including guidance from staff and volunteers as well as a healthy snack for students who finish their work. The Center also works with students during the summer months with free, one-to-one tutoring to help prevent the summer slide. 

STEAM Day Camp

  • Lead Organization: Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania

STEAM Day Camp is a summer program that engages girls in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math activities to encourage their interest in these key career fields. While the camp is open to all girls ages five through ten in Lebanon County, the Girl Scouts actively reach out to families with low-income backgrounds to ensure they have access to educational opportunities that they may not otherwise have had.

10% of Lebanon County residents live in poverty. 27% earn above the federally defined poverty line, but do not earn enough to support themselves or their families. 45% of our local children are not living in self-sufficient households. 

As a community, we need to create opportunities that empower adults to be able to achieve and sustain financial stability, and provide a dependable home life for their families. Strong families create strong communities, which leads to a brighter future for all of us in Lebanon County.

Be The One Parenting Program

  • Lead Organization: Lebanon Family Health Services

  • Additional Participating Organizations: Domestic Violence Intervention, Lebanon County Children and Youth Services, and the family court system

This parenting course is designed to assist families dealing with trauma by identifying the impact of the trauma, how to overcome it with social supports, and to foster emotional health and build the parent/child relationship. This four-week program helps to create emotionally safe and secure home environments so that children and families in our community are equipped to break the cycles of intergenerational abuse and trauma, and as a result, have a much better chance at succeeding and thriving in school and as members of our communities. 

Lebanon County Employment Collaborative

  • Lead Organization: Quest, Inc.

  • Additional Participating Organizations: DDS

This collaborative program offers support services for anyone in Lebanon County age 16+ with disabilities to find and sustain gainful community-based employment to improv their quality of life. The program offers one-on-one employment support inclusive of case management, job development, job placement, and educational programming performed by professionally accredited, trained staff. 

Living Beyond Illness

  • Lead Organization: Compeer of Lebanon County

By providing and ensuring access to a combination of clinical and community-based behavioral health and support services, this program’s goal is to keep adults living in Lebanon County well and enable them to be a contributing member within the community. Monthly facilitated clinical and peer support groups create a space where individuals can come together to share their stories, experiences, and lives in a way that helps reduce isolation and loneliness and helps to ensure mental stability and self-sufficiency for Lebanon County residents who are living with mental illness. 

Pipelines and Pathways to Success

  • Lead Organization: The Literacy Council of Lancaster-Lebanon 

  • Additional Participating Organizations: PROBE, Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit Community Education, Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 Head Start

This collaboration focuses on members of our community who are struggling with self-sufficiency through a variety of services offered to support, empower, and create opportunities for them based upon their own unique situations. Services include family literacy for those with children under four; financial literacy; job networking/placement; career awareness, exploration and development; digital literacy; adult education services; parent education; and more. 


The 211 health & human services resource hotline provides non-emergency information and assistance to residents of Lebanon County. Find out more about 211 here.


ALICE represents the 27% of Lebanon County who work, but struggle to survive. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE earns above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), but makes less than what’s needed to afford basic essentials. ALICE often earns too much to qualify for government assistance, and there is no room in ALICE’s budget for emergency expenses. Find out more about ALICE here... 


FamilyWize is a free prescription discount card available to all Lebanon County residents. If fact, last. year our community saved $26,500 in prescription costs! Find out more about FamilyWize here, and get your free card...


MyFreeTaxes is a free self-service tax preparation tool available to anyone in Lebanon County. Anyone who chooses the “By myself” filing option on the home screen can file their taxes for free. There are also additional options that may require a fee for those needing assistance or have complicated returns. Myfreetaxes.com


2020 Tax Filing Services

Free tax preparation services are limited in Lebanon County this year due to the pandemic creating a shortage of volunteers who can safely participate. The following are services that we know are available:

  • MyFreeTaxes: Anyone who chooses the “By myself” filing option on the home screen can file their taxes for free. There are also additional options that may require a fee for those needing assistance or have complicated returns. Myfreetaxes.com
  • Get Your Refund: Free to anyone making less than $66k. Getyourrefund.org
  • Previous Lebanon County VITA Clients: Call Community Action at 717-273-9328. Clients can also email Sandy at slong@lebcnty.org
  • New VITA clients: If all goes well, the volunteer tax preparers MIGHT open up to new clients in March. 
  • AARP: They will only be taking previous clients for now, but are keeping a wait list if they are able to take on new ones. Sites are open at Holy Trinity on Lehman Street and Myerstown Church of the Brethren. The number is 717-274-2596, and callers will have to leave a message and wait for a call back.

If you know of other free tax preparation services to help our neighbors in need, please contact Flame Vo.

Every day, members of our community find themselves in critical situations such as homelessness​, food insecurity, domestic violence, child abuse/neglect, sexual assault, and so many others.

As a community, we need to ensure that there are programs that can provide immediate, short-term emergency support for community members in times of crisis to help them meet their basic needs.

Crisis & Healing Response to Survivors of Sexual Violence

  • Lead Organization: Sexual Assault Resource & Counseling Center (SARCC) 

This 24-hour confidential, trauma-informed healing and advocacy service continuum is available to all Lebanon County residents impacted by sexual violence and is working to further enhance their services to better meet the current needs of adults and children within our communities. 

Critical Help for Critical Moments (CHCM)

  • Lead Organization: MidPenn Legal Services

As the only provider of free civil legal services in Lebanon County, CHCM legal advocates work to stabilize the living situation of county residents who are in need legal help to preserve their housing and protect themselves from domestic violence. The work of CHCM is to help residents struggling with poverty and abuse to assert their legal rights for protection from domestic violence and sexual assault as well as prevention of homelessness. 

Domestic Violence Intervention of Lebanon County Emergency Shelter

  • Lead Organization: Domestic Violence Intervention of Lebanon County, Inc. 

The shelter provides a safe space for victims of domestic violence and their children offering trauma-informed care in order empower them to become self-sufficient and regain a life free from violence. Services include a 24-hour crisis hotline and first response team, emergency shelter, residential and non-residential counseling, legal and systems advocacy, and public education programs. 

FRESH Start Emergency Shelter and Resource Center

  • Lead Organization: Lebanon County Christian Ministries 

  • Additional Participating Organizations: Community Action Partnership, Jubilee Ministries, Lebanon Valley College, Lebanon Valley YMCA, Lebanon County MH/ID/EI, Support Connections of Lebanon County, Lebanon Rescue Mission, PROBE, and various churches throughout the county

FRESH Start provides help with the basic, immediate needs of homeless families and individuals while also educating and empowering them to be able to confidently provide for themselves.  By navigating the various challenges that led to homelessness, guests are able to move forward through work readiness programs, GED courses, parenting classes, cooking classes, and financial literacy classes, among other services, to ensure that they are empowered to find stability in their lives and are prepared to face life's challenges with a new and positive attitude.

Volunteers in Medicine Walk-in Clinic

  • Lead Organization: Volunteers in Medicine

Volunteers in Medicine's Walk-in Clinic provides no cost medical treatment on a first-come, first-seen basis to treat injuries and illness for low-income and uninsured Lebanon County individuals and families.

Community Support FundWhen the COVID-19 pandemic invaded our local community, United Way of Lebanon County anticipated that there would be unexpected short and long terms needs. Accordingly, the organization responded quickly to establish a fund to support local nonprofit organizations. These organizations are critical in supporting community members, utilizing their already limited revenue, in response to this ever-changing community crisis. 

The first round of grants awarded in May 2020 were distributed to support the following areas of identified need:

  • Food Security for Students and Community Members ($5,000): When schools were ordered to close around the state, school districts across the county immediately began to establish feeding programs to ensure food security among their students. Eastern Lebanon County School District was not initially approved for full reimbursement from the federal food program. This did not change the need in the community. Lebanon County Christian Ministries (LCCM) stepped in and partnered with ELCO food services to meet those unmet needs. Not surprisingly, LCCM also experienced a marked increase in free noon meal participants. This grant was able to address food security needs among local students and the community at large. 
  • Housing for Domestic Violence Survivors and their Children ($3,000): COVID-19 has created loss of work for residents across the county. This impacted domestic violence survivors too, resulting in the need to shelter them longer. In addition, congregate living situations make it challenging to comply with social distancing guidelines. In order to keep survivors and their children healthy and safe, it was necessary to move shelter residents to hotel rooms. This grant provides support to Domestic Violence Intervention to manage the increased expenses of hotel rooms to ensure the wellbeing of survivors during this pandemic. 
  • Emergency Housing for Homeless Families ($5,000): FRESH Start, our only family shelter in Lebanon County, was forced to identify alternate ways to house their guests. Typically, families would be housed overnight in local churches monitored by volunteers. With closures of many businesses and organizations, as well as restrictions on volunteers during this pandemic, those locations were no longer a viable option. Lebanon County Christian Ministries arranged for guests to be temporarily housed in hotel rooms. This was a financially viable option through a six week stay, but with the emergency situation lasting longer than anyone had anticipated, more support is needed to ensure these community members have a safe place to stay. 

The second round of grants awarded in June 2020 were distributed to support the following areas of identified need:

  • Safely Reopening Childcare and Summer Camp ($5,000) – When Lebanon County entered the yellow phase of reopening, the Lebanon YMCA was able to once again provide childcare programs and school age care for families with a working parent(s). This requires PPE for children and staff as well as specialized signage to ensure a safe, clean environment. Additionally, the YMCA Summer Camp that was scheduled to start on June 8 operates in school buildings, which are not yet cleared to move forward. If the camps are not held in schools where students get PA childcare financial assistance, parents will not be eligible for this state assistance. This grant will help ensure that the YMCA does not have to turn a family away because they cannot afford the program as well as stock the childcare center with the necessary PPE to reopen safely. 
  • Ensuring Safety Precautions to Resume In-person Medical Services ($5,000) – Lebanon Family Health Services offers a variety of health and educational services for some of our community’s most vulnerable population, including serving as our county’s facilitator for the WIC (Women, Infants & Children) supplemental nutrition program. Services were transitioned to telehealth as much as possible throughout the pandemic, with some in-person visits being medically necessary. As LFHS transitions to external events such as drive up and curbside services, as well as more patients returning to in person, there is an added expense to prepare including additional PPE and Plexiglas dividers. This grant will help with the transition and ensure safety for patients, clients, and staff.
  • Updating Technology to Support Victims of Sexual Assault ($3,065) - Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center had to quickly shift to provide their essential services virtually when the pandemic arose. This exposed a need for updated technology to ensure that counselors, advocates, therapists, and community educators could continue to provide scheduled counseling and therapy sessions and educational programs. They received a donation of laptops to help with these efforts. This grant will allow SARCC to equip these laptops with the required software and operating systems to provide services and programs virtually.
  • Replenishing PPE for Continued Safety at Free Clinic ($4,730) – Lebanon Valley Volunteers In Medicine was the only free clinic to in Lebanon County to provide in-person, no-cost, primary care services throughout the pandemic. To do this safely, they incurred 7-10 times higher personal protective equipment and medication costs. This grant will help to ensure that the clinic remains fully stocked so that they can continue to help our neighbors receive medical care.

United Way of Lebanon County formed the COVID-19 Community Support Fund Committee to administer the grant process from the Fund. This group is comprised of United Way board members along with additional community members. The committee’s purpose is to make decisions on disbursement of the funds as well as monitoring ongoing areas of COVID-19 related need in our community. 

Community SchoolsWe recognize that building closer relationships with schools throughout Lebanon County and supporting our students is critical in ensuring children and families can reach their full potential. The first two schools, Northwest Elementary School and Lebanon Middle School, began during the 2019-2020 academic year.

A community school is both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources. Its integrated focus on academics, health and social services, youth and community development, and community engagement leads to improved student learning, stronger families, and healthier communities.

The Community Schools program in Lebanon County is being piloted in the Lebanon School District at Northwest Elementary and Lebanon Middle School with the hope of expanding to other school districts in the coming years. The program is managed by Communities in Schools of Pennsylvania (CISPA), a nonprofit that specializes in integrated community school programs. United Way’s investment supports two Community School Coordinators, Christina Tinoco and Guillermo Barroso, who were hired by CISPA to help address barriers to education and ensure that children have access to the resources they need to succeed at school. 

The community school coordinators got to work quickly by doing a needs assessment within their school, and have identified the following goals that they are helping address with their students and their families: 

  • Increase parent engagement
  • Increase attendance
  • Decrease behavioral issues
  • Align community resources to meet needs of the students and families.

Some of the projects that our Community Schools Coordinators are working on are: 

  • Providing targeted case management services to 35 students.
  • Launching a girl’s self-esteem group at Northwest Elementary.
  • Implementing an anti-bullying Group at Lebanon Middle School. 
  • Coordinating with community programs such as Power Packs and Be The One Parenting Program. 

At United Way, our community is the reason behind everything that we do.

We love volunteers! We're excited to share Volunteer Lebanon, a free online resource designed to connect local nonprofit organizations with individuals looking to help out the Lebanon County community. 

Are you a nonprofit in need of volunteers for one-time projects, events, or ongoing needs?

  • Keep your opportunities and registered volunteers organized in one easy-to-use platform. 

  • Customize your own agency profile, and easily share it with your audience.

  • Send communications to your volunteers, track hours, and more! 

  • Reach additional potential volunteers being driven to the portal by United Way and other organizations. 

Are you an individual or organization looking for opportunities to give back to your community? 

  • Search by dates you are available, causes you support, and more. Get alerts when new opportunities are available matching your interests.

  • Keep track of your volunteer activities, share your community support, and invite others to join you! 

Need a little more help to get set up on Volunteer Lebanon? Check out the following: 

Each year, our Day of Caring connects hundreds of volunteers with local nonprofits to help improve Lebanon County. Volunteers perform various tasks including gardening, trail clean up, tree planting, painting, and more. This one-day event is an opportunity for us all to come together in support of the organizations that are supporting our community. 

Spring Into Reading Fest: Also on Day of Caring each year, we collaborate with other local stakeholders in early education to host a Spring Into Reading event. The event brings together local nonprofits to engage with families about their services while offering an interactive learning activity. There is live entertainment and book readings as well. Children leave with free books and tools that encourage a love of reading that they can carry with them throughout the summer and beyond. 

Kits of Comfort & JoyFor a child experiencing a mental health crisis, the emergency room can be a scary and lonely place. With longer wait times in the emergency department this year, more children are finding themselves in a stressful situation as they wait to receive the care they need.

We partnered with Lebanon County Crisis Intervention to determine what could be done to help. Kits of Comfort & Joy is the result of this partnership. Each kit includes a blanket or stuffed animal, an age-appropriate puzzle, a fidget toy, a book, and an age-appropriate activity. The comfort items and activities included in these kits can provide a comforting and positive outlet for children in mental health crisis, while they are waiting in the emergency room for services.

Visit our Amazon wish list to purchase items to help comfort children in crisis.

Shop Now for Kits of COmfort & Joy


Important: Because of COVID in Lebanon County, as well as generally accepted safety guidelines, we prefer items be purchased from our Amazon wishlist so they are shipped directly to us. We will NOT accept the following items under any circumstances for this project; pencils, pens, or sharp objects; items with string or ribbon; second hand stuffed animals or blankets.

We have placed a Little Free Library in a neighborhood within each school district in Lebanon County. Anyone is welcome to take a book or leave a book for others to enjoy. Little Free Libraries inspire readers , build communities, and expand access to books for everyone. 

Our Nurse's Pantry is being offered to all Lebanon County School Districts. Our intent is to provide needed basic supplies such as clothing, toiletries, and other wellness products to be available at the schools. We are still in the planning stages and determining the specific needs within each district, which we will share with our community once complete to set up the Lebanon County Nurse's Pantry. 

For families living in poverty, a lack of simple items such as hygiene products and school-approved attire, can keep children out of school for days, even weeks. Many families are unable to afford costly medicated shampoo to treat head lice. Some may not have access to adequate laundry facilities.

For children living in poverty, lost school time means lost learning time. When students do return to school, they often struggle to catch up and become frustrated, which makes them less likely to achieve academic success.

Our Reading Friends volunteer program puts community volunteers right into our local elementary classrooms to read with students both in small groups and one-on-one depending on the needs within the class. This program supports our both our children and teachers in our goal of increasing early childhood literacy within Lebanon County. Find out more here...

Many students and families are struggling in our community, leaving them unable to afford basic school supplies for their children. Each year we hold a school supply drive to provide these vulnerable students with a backpack full of supplies, so they can start the school year off with what they need to succeed. 

United Way of Lebanon County’s first priority is to keep all volunteers and their families safe during this national emergency. While we do understand that those who are not suffering from the virus or those who recover from it may want to help, we encourage all volunteer activities be restricted to life-sustaining activities or virtual volunteer opportunities. The following are general guidelines for in person volunteerism to help keep you safe so you can help others, and so we all get through this crisis together.

Our primary goals are to:

  • Protect Volunteers

  • Protect Clients

  • Protect Service Agencies

General Guidelines for Volunteers
  • Do NOT show up to volunteer for any activity if in the last14 days you have:

    • Traveled to any foreign country or large metropolitan city.

    • Been on a cruise or been in an airport.

    • Been around anyone who has COVID-19.

    • Been to an event where there was more than 250 people.  

  • Do NOT show up to volunteer for any activity without confirming that there is a need for the activity, that it will be conducted, and that volunteer support is needed and expected.

  • BEFORE arriving for a volunteer shift, call ahead to the service agency and ask if any additional safety precautions should be taken before, during and after the shift.

  • ALLOW extra time for additional screening from volunteer organizations or agencies to make sure to are cleared to volunteer for the task.

  • EXPECT that shifts or opportunities may be cancelled, especially volunteer opportunities working with vulnerable populations. Please be gracious and understanding.

  • DO practice universal infection control precautions. Clean and wash your hands before, during, and after volunteering.

  • DO use proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) if needed for the task.

  • DO maintain a minimum of a 6-10 food separation from others while conducting the task.

  • ASK about any risk that may be associated with the task and DO NOT take part if you are uncomfortable with the level of risk.

General Guidance for Volunteer Organizations
  • Focus on delivering services in COVID-19 environment, and ensure we are all working together and taking all necessary precautions to service Lebanon County citizens.

  • Realize that traditional services may shift.

  • Realize that many volunteers are over age 65 and at a higher risk for contracting the virus.

  • Consider having an isolation space ready in case anyone shows up with symptoms.

  • Screen all volunteers and clients as able and before using them.

  • Make sure you have the proper PPE available, and make sure you train volunteers on its proper use before allowing them to do any tasks that require PPE.

  • Make sure all volunteers understand any risks associated with the task you like them to do and understand if they are not comfortable with that level of risk.

  • Do not compete in the market for scarce supplies that healthcare organizations and providers need every day to perform their duties.

  • Keep 6-10-foot social distance rules in place during tasks if possible.

  • Hang posters in facilities with best practices, social distancing, hand washing, etc.

  • Provide sufficient and accessible infection control supplies such as hand-hygiene products, sanitizing wipes, and receptacles for their disposal in all locations.

  • When in doubt, check the CDC or PA Department of Health websites for recommendations.