For Parents

United Way of South Mississippi is committed to making sure that children excel. Findings from our research, our partners, and dozens of community listening sessions have led United Way of South Mississippi to a recommitment to education and school readiness.  Below are resources for families to help prepare their children for learning.

Excel by 5

Excel By 5 is an innovative early childhood community certification process focusing on a childhood educators play in the lives of children during their most formative years - birth to age 5.

A full resource guide can be found for Gulfport, Biloxi or Hancock County.

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

United Way of South Mississippi has teamed up with the DPIL to provide books to children. Our goal is to improve early childhood education by making sure kids have access to age-appropriate books. From the time they are registered until he/she is 5 years old, kids will receive 1 book a month. That's up to 60 books in 5 years - all free to the children and families of Harrison, Hancock, Pearl River and Stone Counties!

If you'd like to donate to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, click here!

We want to extend our gratitude to Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Presenting Sponsor IP Casino Resort Spa for their continued support of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library and education initiatives across South Mississippi!


New science tells us that our children's first years are when they develop the foundation for all future learning.  Every time we connect with them, it's not just their eyes that light up -- it's their brains too!  In these moments, half a million neurons fire at once, taking in all the things we say and do.  We can't see it happening, but it's all there, all at work.  That's why Vroom is here.

Vroom turns shared moments into brain-building moments.  Whether it's mealtime, bathtime, or anytime in between, there are always ways to nurture our children's growing minds.  UWSM is excited to partner with this organization that is helping us spread the message that parents are a child's first teacher, and we know that Vroom will help early learning soar to new heights in South Mississippi!