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Head Start at the American Dream

For some folks, the American Dream begins with Head Start, and this was true for Darren Walker. As a 5 year old living in poverty, Darren and his mother had limited access to community resources and educational opportunities. The creation of Head Start in 1965 embraced children and families marginalized by poverty, children and families like The Walkers, and ushered forth a new era of America Dreamers. In addition to a providing a foundation in quality preschool education, Head Start also underscored for Darren the importance of education as a vehicle for social change. Darren Walker, now 55, is the president of the nonprofit Ford Foundation which provides close to $500 million in charitable giving around the world. Meaningful data abounds about the importance of early childhood education and the longitudinal impact of Head Start for at-risk kids. Darren’s story reveals the resounding impact of investing in children today. Investing in Darren back in 1965 has impacted children locally and globally through his work with the Ford Foundation. Enjoy more about Darren’s life as featured in People Magazine here, and watch his brief video.

Our Future Begins with Babies

Somehow the nation has lost sight of something quite natural in the cycle of life – children inevitably become adults! The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives embraces this reality by championing quality early childhood education as an investment in the future of the U.S. economy. In a nation with 10 million unemployed, a startling 4 million jobs cannot be filled because the United States does not have appropriately skilled candidates. Longitudinal data proves that kindergarten-readiness programs, like Orange Children & Parents Together, positively impact the economy and society at large. Early education for low-income students increases reading proficiency by the third grade, which in turn increases the likelihood of high school graduation, which subsequently yields more skilled and educated candidates entering the work force and acquiring life-sustaining jobs. Currently the cost of early childhood education averages $8,000 a year across the nation, which is more than 25% of an average OCPT’s family income. Head Start programs, like OCPT, deliver quality education to children and families who would otherwise be unable to access preschool due to poverty. Investing in the tiniest and youngest citizens today, has profoundly giant significance for all of our lives tomorrow. Positively impact tomorrow by getting involved today. Continue to educate yourself by reading more from the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

Today’s Kids, Tomorrow’s Future

Educating our youngest and most vulnerable citizens – children and babies, is a lot more than exposure to math, sciences, and literacy. High quality early childhood education, like the programs at OCPT, provide a foundation in academics and cognitive development, as well as the “soft skills” needed for a well rounded, skilled workforce. “Soft skills” such as creative thinking and problem solving, communication, teamwork, adaptability and time management, are the personal assets that the business community requires to sustain a healthy economy. OCPT’s community-based work for over 48 years is built upon scientific research proving that the development of human capital needs to start when the brain is developing the fastest and is at its most malleable—that is, right at the beginning of life. Access The Brookings Institution short video about the global impact of Early Childhood Education by clicking here. To enjoy further literature in support of Early Childhood Development please click here.

Born Curious: Babies Love to Learn!

When babies enter the world, everything is a learning opportunity. Every sight, sound, and stimuli provide experiences for growth and exploring. Orange Children & Parents Together educates children from birth to age 5 because we understand that these first five developmental years are essential in preparing children not just for kindergarten preparedness, but a lifetime of academic and personal success. Our kids come from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and without high quality early childhood education programs like ours, they are more likely to enter school without important developmental skills and fall well behind their peers come third grade. At OCPT, we build on the strength of our parents as their child’s primary educator. James Heckman, the Nobel Laureate in Economics, acknowledges parenting as being just as important as income in forming a child’s cognitive abilities and scholastic personality. OCPT serves the child and whole family through our educational and family support services because we know that quality parenting and parental involvement are also key factors for student success. Enjoy learning more about other successful preschool programs like ours here.

CEOs LOVE Early Childhood Education!

The CEOs of Business Roundtable, who collectively manage $7.4 trillion in annual revenues and employ more than 16 million people in the United States, support high quality early childhood education programs. Edward B. Rust, Jr., Chairman & CEO of State Farm Insurance Companies, supports investing in programs like Orange Children & Parents Together, saying “It’s a simple choice: Pay now or pay more later.” This CEO, along with many others, understands that children involved in programs like OCPT are more likely to graduate from high school, decrease crime on the street, earn higher wages, and bolster the economy. The Business Roundtable encourages policy makers to expand and strengthen educational programs for infants and toddlers ages 0 to 2. Orange Children & Parents Together provides this kind of comprehensive learning model through our Early Head Start and Head Start Home Based learning programs for infants and toddlers ages 0 to 3. Further reading of the Business Roundtable’s proposals for policy makers can be enjoyed here.