With today’s social landscape, it is more important than ever that women everywhere act in their communities, churches, schools and places of employment to help fellow women succeed in work and life. March is Women’s History Month and it’s so important that we recognize the contributions and value women provide in society.
But there are also some sobering realities that women today face.
Locally, in Newark, where United Way of Essex and West Hudson (UWEWH) is headquartered, the social, emotional, health and education outcomes for girls and young women are astounding.
Of the 68,000 children who live in the city, over 55% live in poverty as compared to the 10% in Essex County and 7 % in the state. And 51% of them are girls. (The federal poverty level is measured by how much it costs to feed a family of four-$30,750 a year). Over 60% of the children in Newark live in single parent homes—and 51% of them are girls. The number of unemployed residents in Newark is over 7,000 as compared to the county’s 18,000 and the state’s 186,000. And 51% of them are women.
In Newark, over 34,000 children receive food stamps and over 38,000 children qualify for free and reduced-price lunch. And of all those children, 51% are girls. Newark has also one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country with a rate of 11.6. And 51% of them are girls. Over 4,000 children in Newark don’t have access to health insurance still, and 51% of them are girls.
Educational outcomes are not much better. 59% of students are chronically absent and 51% of them are girls. Only 24% of students met the expectations of the Newark District English Language Arts PARCC tests. And 51% of them are girls. In the 2015-2016 school year, 27% of students didn’t graduate from high school—and 51% of them are girls.
At UWEWH we’re working to change these outcomes for our community. We’re focusing on supporting students in literacy programs like Raising a Reader, Celebrity Read and My Very Own Library. Giving low-income girls access to books and literacy programs that help them become better readers and ultimately better students. We’re helping to give them the foundation of what they need to graduate from high school and attend college. We’re inspiring the next generation of readers and writers; engineers and astronauts; lawyers and CEOs.
And we’re helping ALICE.
ALICE is Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed. ALICE cleans offices and hotel rooms. She serves coffee at the local café and sells insurance plans. She works at the train station, the gas station and the hair salon. ALICE is everywhere, working to make ends meet, without a safety net. This year, we’re helping ALICE get more of her salary returned in tax refunds. We’re teaching her how to budget and save so that she can have a small nest egg for an emergency or a 529 college savings plan. We’re giving her the dream of home ownership by offering classes to teach her how to do it, all on a limited income.
So this month, as we celebrate Women’s History Month, you can help by joining Women United and join us in the fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every woman, in every community.
President and CEO
United Way Essex and West Hudson
- Access to a network of committed local women
- Educational programs and presentations
- Unique volunteer opportunities in our community
- Exclusive access to members only events with prominent speakers and women of influence
MBA, PHR, CEBS
Tara is the Owner and President of Caring for Children Corporation dba Brick City Bricks 4 Kidz. Brick City Bricks 4 Kidz is an “edu-tainment” social enterprise whose mission is to expose Newark & Essex County students to science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and architecture in an educational and entertaining environment; igniting excitement for STEM-related courses and careers while inspiring sustained educational success.
Now going into its 4th year, Brick City Bricks 4 Kidz is proud of its partnerships with Essex County College Department of Continuing Education, East Orange Recreation and Nassan’s Place, as well as our new partnerships with Kids Corp, National Action Network Tech World, Newark Public Schools Summer Plus, and Orange Public Schools. Since starting Brick City Bricks 4 Kidz, Mrs. Williams-Harrington has been recognized as:
• 2017 Girls; Live, Love, Laugh, Inc. Women Who Clap Award in STEM Education
• 2015 Greater Newark Enterprise Corp Entrepreneur of the Year
• 2014 Newark Innovation Acceleration Challenge Winner
In addition, Tara’s commitment to her community and helping to ensure access to great educational and developmental opportunities for all is evidenced by her many years of volunteer service and leadership. She currently serves as a volunteer leader with the United Way of Essex and West Hudson on the Women’s Leadership Council, Women in Support Steering Committee and Celebrity Read; Kent Place School Alumnae Board, Duke Black Alumni, Tri-State Chapter past President, Education Ministry, past Ministry Leader, INROADS, Inc, and A Better Chance, Inc. alumni volunteer.
Tara has won awards and been recognized for her volunteerism and community service by several organizations:
• 2017 Kent Place School Alumna Community Service Award
• 2016 OMG Photography Community Game Changer Award
• Roche 100 Volunteers Community Service Award Winner (only 100 employees selected globally)
• INROADS, Inc. Spirit Award winner
Born and raised in Newark, NJ, she obtained her undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Duke University, and her MBA from Rutgers Business School Executive MBA program. Tara still lives in Newark with her husband Daryl Harrington and her son Gregory Tyler Richardson.