More Than Words Creates Common Language to Advance Community Well-Being

More Than Words is a program United Way of Whitewater Valley provides directly to the community. In response to discussion within its Vision Council for Education, United Way of Whitewater Valley launched the More Than Words program over a decade ago. The program filled a gap in developing a common language and shared values for Wayne and Union counties. This language and these values have since been incorporated into wide-ranging community spaces, including homes, schools, youth-serving organizations, and workplaces.

Each month, participants receive a word representing a core value, with its definition and examples of use in daily situations. Words are selected in partnership with Core Essential Values, a curriculum company based in Georgia. Values are centered around three big ideas: treat others well, make smart decisions, and maximize potential. Built into activities that build character, develop social emotional learning skills, and enhance employability, More Than Words demonstrates the power of language in creating a shared community culture.

As part of its More Than Words program, United Way of Whitewater Valley provides related curriculum to public schools and direct resources to families, businesses, and organizations interested in cultivating a shared language, shared values, and shared community aspirations.

Over the years, More Than Words has evolved to add attention to critical community needs and provide hands-on experiences that engage residents of every age in driving community change. Among these experiences has been a workforce development curriculum for middle schoolers, a Canstruction event to enhance STEM skills and address food insecurity, and an 8-week video series to address internet safety and healthy choices for 5th and 6th graders. Through this work, United Way of Whitewater Valley’s engaged more than 5,000 students, teachers, and families.

Each month, United Way of Whitewater Valley provides a word-themed curriculum to schools, assemblies to elementary school buildings, videos to middle school buildings, family packs to businesses, and resources tailored to organizations like the Morrisson-Reeves Library and Every Child Can Read program. In addition, over 100 individuals and their families receive a direct email with printable activities they can complete at home together.

Interested in Participating in More Than Words?

You can participate in More Than Words at no cost thanks to the generosity of our community members and employees during United Way of Whitewater Valley’s annual campaign and other community sponsors. It’s easy to get started! Either join the email list through our website or email Leslie Bolser directly at to be added to the list. You can also request family packs, assembly dates, or share other ideas for collaboration at any time!