Continuing the ALICE Conversation
A Message from Richard Porth President/CEO of United Way of Connecticut

Earlier this year, we co-hosted a legislative forum with the Connecticut Commission on Children and local United Ways to discuss short and long term strategies for helping ALICE families in our state.

The forum fostered a productive dialogue with state and local leaders, community members, and others about how we can help ALICE families who live and work in our communities get ahead.

To continue the conversation about ALICE, we created a new page on the ALICE website that includes materials shared at our legislative forum, and links to related media, downloads, and other information to help you discuss ALICE with others.

The ALICE Toolkit has several suggestions for how we can all GIVE, ADVOCATE, and VOLUNTEER in our communities, but we also want to hear from you. Click here to tell us how you are helping ALICE, and what you think we should do next.

May is Mental Health Awareness month, and this year the theme is "B4Stage4" which focuses on helping people learn to address their mental health early, before it becomes a "Stage 4" with more severe symptoms and longer recovery.

Mental Health America has prepared a toolkit with information about changing the way we think about mental health, with fact sheets about depression, anxiety, suicide prevention, and resources for screening and help. 

In Connecticut, United Way 2-1-1 connects people to resources and assistance with mental health concerns. 2-1-1 has contact specialists available around the clock to answer calls and provide crisis intervention services.

For more information about mental health resources in Connecticut, read the 2-1-1 Barometer on Mental Health, or browse a directory of mental health resources on the 2-1-1 website.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, dial 2-1-1 and press option 1.

Having a 529 college savings plan can make it easier for families to plan and prepare for their children's college education. 

529 plans offer tax-advantaged investments to promote saving for college. CHET (Connecticut Higher Education Trust) is the Connecticut 529 college savings plan.

When used for qualifying education expenses, funds invested in CHET accounts can be withdrawn tax-free. There is also a state income tax deduction available for contributions to a CHET 529 college savings plan.

The CHET website has details about the investment options, advice about planning ahead for college, and a calculator to estimate future costs of higher education. 

To learn more, call 1-888-799-CHET (2438) or visit

DataHaven is expanding its Community Wellbeing Survey statewide in 2015, and will interview over 15,000 residents about quality of life, health, and happiness. The project aims to produce high quality information and insights about issues that are locally important at the neighborhood level. 
This spring and summer, survey takers from Siena College Research Institute will make interview calls from a 518 area code. Residents are urged to "help your community learn more about your needs" by picking up the phone when researchers call.

Results will be published beginning in late 2015, and will help state and local leaders to better understand community priorities. Click here for more information about the Community Wellbeing Survey.