United Way of Kitsap County

Health | Education | Financial Stability



  • Over 30% of Kitsap County residents experienced 3 or more types of traumatic events in their first 18 years of life.
  • 35-40% of our 8th & 10th graders do not have an adult they can turn to when feeling sad or hopeless.
  • Nearly 60% of people experiencing homelessness and over half of juveniles in detention have experienced 4 or more types of trauma experiences.
We know that stressful events (Adverse Childhood Experiences - ACEs) can become “toxic”; witnessing domestic violence, growing up in a home with a parent that has mental health issues or abuses alcohol/drugs, being bullied in school, etc., and lead to increased physical, mental, behavioral, and social challenges throughout life. 
Many of the characteristics & behaviors of toddlers, adolescents, and adults that we currently identify as “maladaptive” are actually an adaptive response to a traumatic experience.  Our brains adapt in a predictable manner to traumatic events, and we develop the characteristics and traits (edgy, hypervigilant, aggressive, etc.) that give us the best chance of survival.

Focus on Solutions:

Thankfully, we also know that the skills we need to be successful students, parents, and employees are learned through experiences and relationships with safe and caring people.

This is why we are focusing on ensuring all children & adults have the relationships and experiences they need to flourish.

Keeping kids cavity free helps give children a great start in life, making sure baby teeth are healthy, gets children into a dentist as early as age one, (as recommended by the AA of Pediatric Dentistry), provides an easy exam with child in their parent’s arms, not in a dental chair, and most importantly, helps set the stage for a healthier life as an adult.
For additional questions, contact program coordinator, Lisa Jones at 360-477-6490 or email ljones@unitedwaykitsap.org


Educational Experiences Matter

GS-Ed-website pics

Helping ensure that children enter kindergarten ready to learn gives them the opportunity to reach their full potential. It matters to everyone that children go on to secondary opportunities and grow up to be contributing members of our community.

Graduate Strong a Kitsap Strong Network

Purpose: Many of the experiences and learning opportunities that shape a child's life occur outside of the classroom in our communities. Science tells us that children develop the capabilities they need to overcome challenges through connections with caring and competent adults. Graduate Strong is a community response designed to help students develop the capabilites, connections, and the credentials they need to flourish.

Graduate Strong's Mission: to strengthen our community by reducing gaps in educational opportunity and increasing post-secondary enrollment and completion.

Graduate Strong's Values:
Equity: An inclusive person-centered approach that focuses on populations that have historically been furthest from opportunity.
Responsibility: Shared accountability that brings community and schools together.
Transparency: Research-based and driven by disaggregated data shared to influence and improve outcomes for ALL our youth.
Community: Our community has strengths and resources to help ALL students flourish.
Resiliency: Building resiliency over time through positive experiences and relationships.
Innovation: Test and try new ideas and actions, sometimes emphasizing learning over outcomes.
Graduate Strong's Shared Measure:
Increase the percent of youth completing a post-secondary program to a minimum of 70% by 2030 and a minimum high school graduation rate of 90%.

Financial Stability

Life Experiences Matter


It affects the well-being of our entire community. It means ensuring people of all ages have two or more people to call on in a time of need, feel socially/emotionally supported & hopeful about their future. It means students graduate high school, go on to, and complete post-secondary opportunities that lead to better paying jobs. It means connecting with your neighbor & caring for each other. It means understanding the importance of having a home and the need to prevent homelessness. It also means doing what we can to rescue those who are homeless.