There are a lot of ways families are learning and relearning how to connect with each other while they shelter in place. One of the ways United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA) is connecting families with young children to each other involves art and the Census!
Since March when the Census was first mailed, families across the country have taken part in filling out the Census making sure to include every member of their household. Complete counts are important, especially for young children, as the budget for the next decade for educational support, infrastructure, and safety net programs are determined by the number of people occupying a jurisdiction. If local counties experience an undercount, they miss needed funding that helps ensure families have access to food, quality education, and functional infrastructure such as roadways and sanitation.
That’s why United Way NCA has set out with the mission of helping young children and their families, one of the most undercounted demographics in the Census, understand the importance of being counted.
According to the 2010 Census, nearly 2.2 million children under the age of 5 were left uncounted in the Census, making them the most densely undercount across the country. Of these children, 25% of them lived below the poverty line and 31% received public program like food stamps. When families don’t include children under 5 years of age on the Census, programs that support hard to count communities get less money. For every individual not counted in the Census, communities lose over $3,000. And yet, the importance of a complete count is only underscored by the level of need escalating across communities in the wake of Covid-19.
With daycare or school closures, entertainment that’s educationally rich and brings the family together can be difficult to come by. Families and educators are seeking non-traditional ways to keep children engaged and learning. And that’s why United Way NCA is partnering with the Kate Jones of Paint It Kids Studios to bring a series of creative workshops for young children and their parents while teaching them about the Census. Each workshop focuses on a theme whether that’s family appreciation, self-empowerment, or community recognition. In helping families connect with the Census through art and fun, United Way NCA is bridging the gap between hard to count communities and funding that will bring them capacity.
The widespread enforcement of shelter in place and local lockdowns closing schools, businesses and outdoor spaces has meant families are spending an unprecedented amount of time indoors. The need to entertain young children not just physically, but mentally and creatively remains a challenge as nonprofits and local governments regroup to innovate virtual services. In helping parents and their young children bond through the Census Art Break, we hope families will recognize the importance of having every member of the household included in the Census.
Join us as we create with Paint It Kids Studio’s Kate Jones on May 15th, 22nd and 29th from 1pm-1:20pm as we get creative and learn about the Census!