Your Impact

When you support Trident United Way, you ensure that our mission is carried out in the following key areas:


You help Trident United Way improve educational outcomes for all students so they can meet grade-level standards and graduate from high school prepared for employment or higher education.

Read the story of how our WINGS program helped transform Za’Kari from a troubled 3rd grader to a confident, successful student.

Read Za'Kari's story
Whether it’s our successful Tri-County Reading by Third Project or funded partners, Trident United Way is committed to improving education for all students.

Diamond Burns knew her 3rd grade daughter Za’Kari was going down the wrong road and knew she needed to find help.

Teachers and school counselors told Ms. Burns her daughter was disruptive in class, would get into fights with other classmates and was disrespectful of adults.

Thankfully the Trident United Way-funded WINGS for Kids program had an opening and Ms. Burns knew she had to enroll her daughter.

More than 1,100 kids at 10 Tri-County elementary schools participate in the WINGS afterschool program, which focuses on culture, adult social emotional skills and comprehensive curriculum.

Za’Kari told her WINGS leaders she wanted to impress her friends (a group of older girls from her neighborhood) by acting out. Her WINGS Leader focused on helping Za’Kari build the self-confidence she needed to make responsible choices and resist negative peer pressure. She participated in activities designed to help her build critical skills such as roleplaying different peer pressure scenarios and getting involved with activities like chess and art to build independence.

“When Za’Kari started the year, she was tough,” said Keyasia Hale, WINGS program coordinator and coach at Chicora Elementary School. “She sought the approval of friends who were older than her and altered her behavior when in their presence. Once we noticed this, I moved Za’Kari to a new group and she was able to find her confidence to be herself. Over time, her behavior became much more positive!”

Preparing kids for life involves education in and out of the classroom. Education is one of Trident United Way’s three focus areas. We are working with groups to give kids the best shot at being successful beyond their school days.

The challenges are real. Trident United Way research shows around 60% of kindergartners across the Tri-County demonstrate the social development to begin school. That number drops to 34% in some higher poverty areas.

While the process wasn’t easy for Za’Kari, her mother is seeing the differences.

“I feel great about it, it’s the best thing for her, it’s really good,” said mom Diamond Burns. “I would say in a couple of months she changed tremendously. Her behavior and grades just improved.”

Caring adult role models went above and beyond their duties to make sure Za’Kari understood they were there for her and loved her. The efforts went well beyond school hours.

“The team was always there for her, calling and checking on her and cheering on progress,” Ms. Burns said. “I give them 10 stars. When she got to WINGS, the leaders talked with her and made her feel special from day one and it did wonders.”

Research shows that strong social emotional skills are key to helping kids succeed in school, be prepared for the workforce and become positive and healthy contributors to society.

Thanks to WINGS, Za’Kari is doing much better in her classes and is more respectful to her classmates and teachers. She’s also developed close friendships with several girls her age.

“I see her going to college and being successful thanks to how she has turned into such a leader.” Ms.Burns said. “I’m so proud of Za’Kari and can’t thank WINGS enough.”

Financial Stability

Our mission to build access to community tools that break down barriers to financial stability is possible because of supporters like you. Your generosity enables us to give our neighbors opportunities and tools for personal advancement; from crisis to financial stability to self-sufficiency.

Watch how Melrose Smith’s participation in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) has provided her with the opportunity to learn new skills to help her pursue advanced career opportunities and gain further financial stability.


Your support of our mission helps us build a healthier community by making it easier for our partners to work together. We aim to give our neighbors access to health care, the knowledge to lead healthy lives and empower all to live and participate in environments that promote good health.

Read about how Trident United Way and the Summerville YMCA are making a difference in South Carolina’s diabetes battle through prevention programs and community efforts.

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With a family history of diabetes, Mary Nixon knew she had to take steps to get healthier or risk being another statistic in South Carolina’s tough diabetes battle.

Mary wanted to try a non-medicine approach to diabetes prevention but did not have the financial resources to find a program that was a good fit. Her life changed when she found the Trident United Way supported Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) at the Summerville YMCA.

“The DPP Program Coordinator led me to one of the best decisions I could have made,” Nixon said. “The YMCA granted me financial support to attend the program, without it I would have missed out on being a better me.”

Getting healthy has taken on an even greater significance as COVID-19 has been shown to have more harmful affects on people who have pre-existing conditions like diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

South Carolina has the 5th highest prevalence of diabetes among adults, equaling half a million adults with the disease. In the Tri-County, diabetes rates range from 10 to 13% with rates far higher for lower income and minority individuals. Diabetes rates for African Americans are one in six are affected, compared to one in eight white adults.

Trident United Way is making a multi-faceted approach to combatting diabetes in the Tri-County area. We formed the Healthy Tri-County initiative which brings together the region’s top health providers and community agencies to have one unified effort in health awareness. Programs like the Summerville YMCA are making a difference.

“When starting the DPP class, I ate anything I wanted (with no concern of portion size), did limited physical activity, and had little energy,” Nixon said. “Since starting the program, I have lost 20 pounds and increased my exercise on average to 250+ minutes a week. Where I could barely walk a mile or bike a mile, I now successfully walk five miles and bike six miles.”

Because of this progress, Mary does not need medicine to control her diabetes.

Trident United Way’s diabetes prevention efforts extend across the Tri-County. We are targeting high diabetes concentration areas of Hollywood and Moncks Corner with screening and education programs.

Mary joins a long list of people whose lives have been touched because of the generosity of Trident United Way donors.

“The diabetes prevention program has given me a change in my mindset of handling my health, has given me control of my health and has strengthened my desire to be a healthier me,” Nixon said. “Thank you YMCA and Trident United Way for this wonderful gift of health.”

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