United Way works to improve education in Anderson County

Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. We work with schools, local agencies, and families to improve education outcomes for our children.

The Challenge

  • 2 out of every 10 children enter 1st grade without the skills ready for learning and educational success.
  • 1 out of 4 youth do not graduate high school on time.
  • Anderson County teen pregnancy rates are significantly higher than the State and Nation.

Our Goal

  • Early learning is a priority in the home before entering into kindergarten.
  • Children are ready to learn and succeed once they enter into the educational system.
  • All 3rd graders are reading on grade level.
  • Fewer teen pregnancies among our youth; encourage good decision making for life.
  • Youth graduating from school on time and ready to be productive citizens in society.

Funds raised are invested in programs that:

  • Increase the number of children who enter first grade with skills ready for success.
  • Offer youth development and leadership opportunities.
  • Prevent teen pregnancy.
  • Increase high school graduation rates.
Born Learning

Born Learning Trails

The Born Learning Trail is a series of 10 interactive signs that offer fun, active learning activities for young children and their families. It helps parents, caregivers and communities create quality engagement opportunities when out on a stroll or visiting a local playground. 

Born Learning Trail locations in Anderson County

  • Watson Park; 2005 Brookview Dr.; Anderson   

  • South Main Chapel and Mercy Center; 2408 South Main St.; Anderson  

  • Anderson Civic Center Kid Venture; 3027 MLK Dr.; Anderson  

  • Mineral Springs Park; 121 West Main St.;  Williamston, SC 

  • Elsie Evans Memorial Park; Iva, SC  

  • Equinox Park;  Anderson, SC 

  • Starr Walking Trail Park; Starr, SC  

  • Westside Community Center; Anderson, SC 

  • Bea Thompson Park; Anderson, SC 

  • New Powdersville Park; Powdersville, SC  

  • Dolly Cooper Sports Complex

  • Flat Rock Elementary; Anderson, SC 


Interested in having a Born Learning Trail in your community?

Signs are available in English and Spanish and translations can also be made to most other languages. The trail can be ordered as a kit and includes instructions, hardware, and reinforced full-color metal signs.  Building materials and muscle can be locally sourced – installation days make for great volunteer events. Signs include the option to have special messaging, including sponsor names, company logos, or other investor recognition.

Ideas for leading a Trail effort in your community:

  • Contact the United Way to express an interest.  
  • Volunteer to fundraise, organize volunteers, or otherwise assist the effort.
  • Promote the idea to other community groups – churches, early childhood education agencies, PTA groups.  
  • Seek sponsors or investors to underwrite the project.
  • Use neighborhood events to generate enthusiasm for a trail.
  • Inquire with employers or local municipalities for community improvement grants.



We began to look at examples of programs that focused on early-age literacy and found Camp iRock. In 2019, a pilot program was put in place in Anderson School District 1 with a 100% success rate. All 65 students earned the privilege to advance to the 4th grade.

Camp iRock is an intensive 8-week program that focuses on reading remediation work, character building, and physical activity. The camp includes transportation to and from camp; breakfast, lunch, and snacks; high quality reading instruction in a small group environment; swim lessons; field trips; and traditional summer camp games and activities.

Based on the success of Anderson School District 1, our Women United Affinity Group has chosen to expand the Camp iRock program across our county. This camp will be a partnership with the United Way of Anderson County, Anderson University, Anderson Area YMCA, and Anderson County School Districts 3, 4, and 5. The camp will plan to begin in June of 2021.

According to famous author Dr. Seuss, The more you will read, the more you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go. This project has the potential to make change for generations to come and provide endless possibilities for our Anderson County children to achieve the highest success!

For more information on Camp iRock or Women United, please contact Mary Pat Smith at

Extension Libraries

Extension Libraries are locations where books can be read by children in waiting rooms and take home with them. These books are donated by community members and are available all year long at no charge. Students look forward to reading the books as a fun activity while they may be waiting to see a doctor. If volunteers would like to get involved by reading to students or donating books they can email Liz Brock.


  • Anderson Housing Authority
  • Westview Heights Child Enrichment Center
  • Child and Adolescence Center
  • Fortson Homes

Weekend SnackPack

Childhood hunger is a silent epidemic that affects nearly 1 in 4 children. For the poorest school-age children, Friday night begins the Weekend Meal Gap, two days when the school lunch programs are not available and the children have little or nothing to eat. These children come back to school on Mondays, famished and weak, thinking only of the free meal that will come at breakfast and/or lunchtime.

Through the Weekend SnackPack Program, teachers and counselors at elementary schools in Anderson County, Districts 1-5, identify children who are at the greatest risk of falling into the Weekend Meal Gap. Free and reduced breakfasts and lunches are only available during the week, so the program provides needy children with meals to take home on Fridays. Each enrolled child receives a bag of child-friendly, ready-to-eat foods on Friday to take home for the weekend, when school meals are not available. Children return to school on Monday, well-fed and ready to learn.


  • Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina
  • Local churches and the faith community
  • Anderson County schools
  • Local businesses
  • Local civic clubs