Left to right, Seth Green and Cathy Graves of Youth Organizations Umbrella, Darlisa Himrod of Infant Welfare Society, Chris Baer of Childcare Network of Evanston and Jessica Vlahogiannis of North Shore United Way at a breakfast rollout of Live United.

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Three Evanston agencies that serve infants, toddlers and pre-teens will share more than $300,000 in United Way funds to continue their work to support at-risk children and their families on the road to success. Infant Welfare Society of Evanston, Youth Organizations Umbrella and Childcare Network of Evanston received an aggregate of $355,000 from the North Shore United Way as part of it its Live United initiative.

Jessica Vlahogiannis, program manager at North Shore United Way, said the Live United program will be a 10-year, three-pronged focus on education, health and income. The Oct. 4 rollout in Evanston emphasized the first of these, education, to which North Shore United Way is committing an aggregate of $450,000 in Evanston and Highwood.

Two groups of children will be the targets of programs funded through Live United – middle-schoolers and children from birth to age 5, said Ms. Vlahogiannis. The early childhood focus is to help ensure that children are ready to learn when they reach kindergarten, and the middle-school focus is on preparing students to learn in high school and to graduate, she said.

State Representative Robyn Gabel said the Live United program is “so important. Brain development in children is critical from the age of 6 months. It’s really important to get their brains cooking,” she added.

This is the second meeting for the United Way Live United Mr. Bobkiewicz has hosted in the past few months. He told the RoundTable he pays for the coffee and donuts “because I think that is my job [as a resident of Evanston]. His job as City Manager, he says, is to promote Evanston agencies with United Way. “I’m glad that United Way is focusing on Evanston, and I want to make sure that Evanston organizations get some benefit from these funds. … If organizations can receive funding from United Way, that takes pressure off the City.”