Help Us Raise Funds for 2021
It goes without saying that 2020 has been a challenging year.
We have had some victories!
During lockdown, our brilliant and dedicated Positive Bright Start teachers and therapists found innovative ways – virtual story times, care packages, at home learning kits, virtual mental health sessions, and more -- to stay connected to the kids and families we serve. When we did return to the classrooms and office, we all learned it was surprisingly easy to be safe, to wear our masks and stay physically distant. Even our youngest kids picked up the new normal right away! This fall, we partnered with Federal and Douglas County Hero Relief Funds, Child Care Aware of Eastern Kansas, and Success by 6 to offer a new program for temporary child care tuition assistance (just August through December of this year) to Essential Worker families, and families whose care needs were impacted by COVID-19. We were able to assist over 100 children to receive scholarships for child care! And, we can’t share too many details yet, but we’re excited to say that we are in planning stages to open, in the new year, three additional classrooms to expand the availability of quality infant toddler slots in Douglas County.
But we’ve suffered losses as well.
The big loss to our agency this year is a reduction in funding for our scholarship program from United Way. As you know, the United Way Early Childhood Education Scholarship supports early education tuition assistance for families who both do and do not qualify for DCF child care assistance. Some of these UW Scholarship families are student parents, pursuing higher education and training to better their futures and they cannot meet DCF work hour qualifications due to school conflicts. Other UW Scholarship families don’t receive DCF assistance, but can’t afford early education for any number of reasons relating to marital, immigration, or employment status. New in 2020 are a group of families whose child care situations and DCF status were upended by COVID-19. Our United Way Scholarship families are a great mix of Douglas County residents just trying get by.
This year, our United Way Scholarship funding was reduced to $10,000 for the January to June 2021 cycle. For perspective, in 2018 and 2019, we received $53,000 each year for the entire year. Considering the average cost of care for one child aged 3-5 years in Douglas County is $10,200 per year, that $10,000 won’t go very far. We do hope that funding for this essential scholarship will be restored in the summer of 2021, but we are at a loss as to how to help our families afford child care now. Even in a pandemic, parents must work and go to school, and their children need safe, high quality early education while they do.
So, we’re asking for your help in raising funds to supplement our scholarship fund. Whether it’s $50 or $5,000 every fully tax-deductible dollar helps. Please consider making a donation today. Send checks made to Positive Bright Start at 1900 Delaware St, Lawrence KS 66046. You may also contribute via the Donate button on our website, just above and below this text.