Early childhood education is considered a critical part of preparing children for success in school and in life. The Park City Community Foundation is hosting a zoom event on Tuesday to raise money to expand programs in the area.
The Park City Community Foundation launched the Early Childhood Alliance in December 2018. The Women’s Giving Fund seeded the program which consists of stakeholders representing education, local government, advocacy groups and private doners. The fundraising goal is $100,000 which will leverage a matching grant of the same value which has been donated by part-time Park City residents, Dan and Terese Heintzelman.
The Community Foundation’s PC TOTS program began about 5-years ago. They now offer 100 spots in two locations in Summit County with tuition assistance provided on a sliding scale basis.
The evidence-based program, Parents as Teachers has proven success in preparing children for kindergarten and with COVID-19 impacts, they’ve been able to pivot to on-line support. The Community Foundation hopes to allocate more funding to help expand the program to more families.
The virtual event is titled Early Childhood Champions. They’re hoping to raise the funds to meet the $100,000 challenge grant. They also want to increase awareness about the dire need for more quality, affordable access to early childhood education. Park City Community Foundation Communications Manager Christine Coleman says everyone is welcome to sign up for the event.
“We have about 60 people signed up so far. And we’re expecting more to sign up. It's going to include the coordinator of the Early Childhood Alliance, Kristen Schulz, who will give us an overview of what's been happening and it's also going to feature Moe Hickey who is the CEO of Voices for Utah Children along with some of our other local alliance partners. So, anybody can come and learn about why this is important and what's happening. Also, how it ties into what we're doing with social equity and our social equity initiative for Park City.”
Research shows the critical importance for children to have stimulating, engaging interactions in those first years of life. It’s a critical issue in summit County where as many as 40% of children are not kindergarten ready according to data shared by the Community Foundation. These early educational experiences are shown to be a predictor of educational success, impacting graduation rates, and keeping kids out of the legal system. The return on investment is for one dollar spent, 4 to $17 dollars are saved.
The Early Childhood Champions event is for community members who want to learn more about the foundation’s Early Childhood Alliance. It’s Tuesday from 1 to 2 P.M. A link to the event can be found here.