United Way invests its resources locally with funding decisions made by volunteers from our Lebanon County communities. We are focused on solving root causes to complex challenges, not just addressing the symptoms. Many local friends and neighbors are struggling. During the pandemic many adults experienced loss of work, public health concerns, stress related to childcare constraints and children learning remotely, and challenges making ends meet - many for the first time. United Way recognizes that stable families are the cornerstone of a strong community, and many local families are stressed in more ways than ever before. This notion is at the heart of United Way of Lebanon County’s current strategic priorities.
United Way of Lebanon County has made a commitment to focus resources on improving family stability. We have three areas of focus to achieve this:
- Connect families to community resources and programs to help them improve their economic self-dependence.
- Remove barriers to learning for our most vulnerable children because education is the path to self-dependence.
- Give all of Lebanon County children a strong start in life.
United Way can’t do this challenging work alone and many community organizations need support and partnership to address increasing complex needs. Through your support, United Way is uniquely positioned to bring resources together to help solve these challenges in our community. Your gift will be used to create lasting change by bringing local agencies and resources together to improve family stability, neighbors helping neighbors. We stand together - United for children, families and our future. Join us!
At United Way, the Lebanon County community is the reason behind everything we do.
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...
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
For 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.
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.
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.
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.
Annville-Cleona School District
Lebanon School District
Cornwall-Lebanon School District
Northern Lebanon School District
ELCO School District
Palmyra School District
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
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.
Shop our Amazon Wishlist now to help support the Nurse's Pantry initiative in Lebanon County.
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...
SingleCare, formally 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 SingleCare here, and get your free card...
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.
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.
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:
United Way grants are an investment in community programs that work collaboratively in Lebanon County, and towards making an impact on the areas of focus we have committed to. The following programs are being funded through United Way grants for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021.
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.
We 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Myerstown Community Library has implemented 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.
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 after school 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.
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 summer learning program available at libraries 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.
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.
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.
Here you can find resources available for Lebanon County residents.
If your child turns five(5) before September 1, 2021, here's where to get the information you need to register for kindergarten:
- Annville-Cleona School District
- Cornwall-Lebanon School District
- Eastern Lebanon County School District
- Lebanon City School District
- Northern Lebanon School District
- Palmyra Area School District
Any questions about kindergarten registration should be directed accordingly to your child(ren)s school district.
Annville-Cleona First 10
Click here for a comprehensive list of local resources for families of children from conception to age 10.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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.
The Basics Principles are five science-based caregiving tenets of early childhood brain development, distilled from scientific literature with help from a national advisory committee of child development experts. The principles are:
- Maximize love, manage stress;
- Talk, sing, and point;
- Count, group, and compare;
- Explore through movement and play; and
- Read and discuss stories.
At United Way, we want to see The Basics applied with children at birth by their caregivers and within the community to help them develop healthy, stable relationships, which ultimately will help them reach educational milestones and lead happy, productive lives.