Spring has sprung at Educare Arizona!
I say this over and over: I love spending time at Educare Arizona. And last week was no exception, as we hosted Educare philanthropists, leaders, teachers and staff from across the Educare Learning Network, from Washington (DC) to (Seattle) Washington, in Phoenix. Welcoming such a diverse and inspiring group was another highlight in our path here. With speakers like Adele Diamond, food by the amazing Vincent (and his family), and policy updates and strategy sessions lead by Kris Perry at the First Five Years Fund and more experts from the Network, the week flew by.
At a time when budget cuts are slashing opportunities away from children that need them most, Educare Arizona stands as a model of what early childhood education and experience can and should look like. All children can thrive in environments that understand the physical, social and emotional needs of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. All children should have access to safe, beautiful, purposeful spaces to explore, learn, grown and be.
Spring's spirit and colors have emerged on the walls and throughout the hallways of Educare Arizona. In addition to the marvelous creations the kids have worked up (check out their "Art-chitecture" art project below), our new "Faces of Educare" photo exhibit - made possible by a generous grant from a local family - tells the story of the joy, pride, and sense of accomplishment Educare kids feel. As much as we see it in their expressions, Steve and I feel it for the many supporters out there that have made Educare Arizona a reality, and hope you feel it, too: joy, pride, and accomplishment. You did this.
Take a look at the photos below, and please come see in person what you've helped to create. Thank you for your support, and for all you do. It matters.
With hopes for a peaceful spring,
Jenny (& Steve, from Orlando)
Another school year at Educare Arizona!
I think everyone's job should include a performance of I Don't Know Why She Swallowed That Fly, sung and acted out in front of sets the kids made themselves, in the middle of a beautiful courtyard designed specifically for young learners. More importantly, I think everyone under the age of five should get the opportunity to sing, dance and play in a purposeful space, guided by highly trained teachers, in a well-structured day that includes great nutrition, kindness, and quality care.
As I spend more time around the staff, teachers, children and parents at Educare Arizona, the connection between place, program and policy is ever-present, and so meaningful: as the country braces for cuts to spending on social programs, Arizona has already eliminated the childcare subsidy, leaving children of low-income parents without the best resources to start their lives as learners. Educare Arizona fills a critical need, and we are proud to have played a role in creating what will be a difference-maker in Arizona and beyond for generations to come.
Join us! And thank you for caring about children.
What a summer! Just after the Steve Nash Foundation's Showdown (www.stevenash.org/showdown), a fundraiser to benefit Educare Arizona came to a close, the NBA's free agency period opened, and ended with the League's perennial assist leader landing the starting point guard job with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Now wearing #10 (a nod to his soccer heritage), Steve will continue to be playing for kids - he remains committed to the model of excellence at work at Educare Arizona, and to the necessity of highest quality early learning opportunities for all kids, including children living in poverty. More about his exploits will be on the Steve Nash Foundation's new twitter handle, @SteveNashFdn.
Educare Arizona's also got some new leadership - joining us is Christy McClendon, as Educare Arizona's new President - and a new social media look: you can now follow Educare Arizona on twitter, @EducareArizona.
Getting the best possible start in life and learning has been showing to have a dramatic affect on later life - from academics, to interpersonal relationships, to professional success, the first five years matter.
With a new school year beginning, we're hoping you'll be with us as Educare Arizona continues to grow health in kids, bring families needed resources, and provide a true showroom for Early Head Start and Head Start potential. Learn more about us at educarearizona.org or stevenash.org - and thanks for your assist!