We all want the best for our kids.
Nick is a local father who is raising his two young daughters, ages 10 months and 3 years, on his own. He has a stable, full time job. When we met with him, he spoke easily about struggling to get his daughter’s hair in a ponytail that morning. Nick knew that the first five years of a child’s life before they enter kindergarten are the most important time of learning.
Nick went online to research the best area child care providers. He found the Virginia Star Quality Initiative’s website, which rates child care providers, and found a local center. Infant care costs a lot more than for a toddler. The cost for Nick to send his two girls to this center was just over $23,000 a year. That is not a typo. Nick may have a good job, but there was no way he could afford child care for two children on his salary.
But he knew that his girls needed to be prepared to enter kindergarten ready to learn. So he asked around and was told that our United Way provides child care scholarships for low income working parents. Based on his salary and the cost of childcare for two children, Nick and his girls qualified for our program.
Today, Nick reports that his oldest daughter wants to come to the center every day. “They are learning and socializing with the other kids. Here they have structure to their days and a lot more resources than they would at home. My daughter talks about art and books and the playground.”
As a working parent, Nick is grateful that the girls have a steady place to come to that is reliable, and he doesn’t have to worry about taking a sick day if the babysitter calls out. Having a United Way Child Care Scholarship means that his work is stable and his girls have all sorts of learning opportunities.
“They love it here.”
United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area has been providing child care scholarships to parents like Nick since 1975, helping thousands of children over the years. We also provide a grant to a local program that promotes child care quality and educates parents about the Virginia Star Quality Initiative. Because we know that our children are worth investing in.
Children who have been enrolled in high-quality childcare and preschool have higher reading and math scores, higher intelligence test scores, enhanced language skills, lower grade retention rates, lower special education rates and higher postsecondary education enrollment rates. That is a big return on your investment in a child’s life.
Our United Way has deep roots in our community. Our vision is a strong, healthy and vibrant community that helps people like Nick and his daughters rise above challenges to reach their full potential. Through your donation to our United Way, you are helping them learn, grow and live their best lives.
You can make a secure, online donation by simply clicking the GIVE button at the top of this page.
Posted by: Kim Connolly
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