October 21, 2015 | By Jade Frazier

Thriving Together assists next generation in success from birth to career

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Valley of the Sun United Way recently introduced an education-driven program, Thriving Together, which has united resources from several dozens of local organizations, corporate businesses, schools, nonprofit organizations, and more. 
The Thriving Together program intensively seeks out resources that better prepare over a quarter million kids in the Phoenix School District for success from birth to career.
With the aim of closing the opportunity and achievement gap, Thriving Together measures what matters, identifies what works and shares those practices throughout schools in our community, according to thrivingtogetheraz.org.
In August 2013, Thriving Together was established and continued to grow with over 50 entities and 200 individual partners involved from around the community.
In the first year of Thriving Together, corporate businesses including, Wells Fargo, APS, JPMorgan Chase, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Freeport McMoRan and Copper Point Mutual brought resources together and joined the Collaborative Action Team.
Top executives from these six companies serve on the Thriving Together Leadership Council.
Pam Conboy, lead regional president of Wells Fargo Arizona and Thriving Together co-chair along with Dr. Kent P. Scribner, and Merl Waschler, said the team is passionate about the Thriving Together program.
“We invest in education because we understand how important it is to be career ready,” Conboy said. “It is an investment in the future leaders who will represent our nation.”
Wells Fargo leadership takes on a unique involvement as nearly 250,000 students are impacted through the program.
The students live within the boundaries from 83rd Avenue to 68th Street, south of the Northern Avenue to South Mountain Park in Phoenix, according to a news statement.
“The Wells Fargo team members volunteer their time, talents and service sharing knowledge, reading and personally tutoring students within the schools,” Conboy said.
The objective of these partnerships is to expand resources initially through funding and ultimately to help make an impact through collaborative action.
With the help of private and non-profit sectors this long-term movement draws on its resources.
As the initiative began within the Phoenix community, its work focused on four key area including, 3rd Grade Reading, 8th Grade Math, High School Graduation & College Enrollment & Attainment.
The Wells Fargo team members collaborate with the Thriving Together Collaborative Action Team, which is made up of experts and stakeholders that will use data to improve results in the classroom. 
Tom Evans, Principle of Evans Communications, said that the use of data is a groundbreaking feature of the initiative.
“In the past, many educational initiatives have had the goal of improving test scores, but have not tracked and measured them closely enough to see if the programs actually work,” Evans said.
Both Evans and Conboy stressed the importance of the program from a business aspect because finances and expertise are needed to gather resources and impact the community.
“The impact starts before kindergarten and it is important that our children have access,” Conboy said. “Working with Thriving Together has broadened my perspective.”
Studies have shown that if children are prepared at several key milestones in their educational career, they can stay on a path to success, according to officials.
Thriving Together has already made an impact in the alignment of math concepts, striving toward better and faster data, helping young men stay in college, and fostering continuous improvement. 
“I encourage business leaders to help us reach out to the community,” Conboy said. 
To sign up for collaborative action team and for more information, visit www.thrivingtogetheraz.org.