Early this Spring, Educare Arizona welcomed Dr. Billie Enz as its Executive Director -- Billie brings a dedicated passion for early childhood education to Educare, and we're fortunate to have her on the roster! Billie has this to say:
Educare schools across the country are dramatically changing the life trajectories of thousands of children growing up in families facing the greatest obstacles to success. This is what attracted me to the position of Executive Director of Educare Arizona. My lifelong passion for this work is shared by the Educare board and staff; these individuals possess boundless energy, expertise, and zeal for the children of Arizona. It will be my pleasure to work with them to realize this vision.
Billie is leading a team of incredible educators and staff -- more than half are bilingual, a majority hold bachelor's degrees or higher, and they have an average of 7 years experience working with young children.
We've also recently completed plans for a beautiful play courtyard at Educare Arizona (see renderings below). With evidence of the importance of pretend play and creative coming from more and more research, we're committed to providing healthy space for children to explore the world and their imaginations. The courtyard area is comprised of quadrants representing the wetlands (with a water play feature), city (with an ampitheatre), farm (with growing planters), and neighborhood (with a house-like structure that can represent anything the child pretends it is), and will be a great place to observe our little MVPs at work being kids.
Educare Arizona is about change, and the promise of a return on investment that grows health all around it. Your support has meant so much to us, and we hope to continue to earn it through the course of this journey.
Learn more at stevenash.org, and please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
All the best for a happy, healthy Spring,
Jenny (and Steve)
While many of us are digging out our sidewalks and scraping ice off our windshields, construction is moving forward at full pace in Phoenix -- thank goodness for that southwest climate!
Since our last update, we've been hard at work making the multitude of decisions requisite in opening a center and school of this impact -- everything from carpet and paint, to the play structures and learning modules available to Educare's children and families, to our newest news: the selection of Educare Arizona's Executive Director. We're excited to be bringing on board one of the country's passionate, committed voices in early learning, and working with this soon-to-be-publicly-announced individual to bring great things to bear on our communities, both locally and nationally.
Late this fall, I had the opportunity to visit the newly-opened Educare of Seattle at White Center. Together with members of the Bounce Learning Network, I watched children operate on a learning environment created with the best of what the available science tells us to offer. Having now visited Educare centers in Miami, Omaha, and Seattle, I can't wait to have Educare's excellence at play in the Valley of the Sun(s).
The Steve Nash Foundation has also been working to make supporting Educare as convenient and rewarding as possible. Giveback.org/steve offers e-commerce opportunities to support both Educare Arizona and the Steve Nash Foundation, globalgiving.org has this page for Educare Arizona, and there are new Flip video cameras at theflip.com/steve through the “Flip for Good” program that benefit this work as well. One of the best assists you can make, though, is just telling others about why you care about children; growing health in kids means growing our collective voice to advocate for them.
With hopes for a peaceful winter season, and continued good weather for building,
On Thursday, September 16th, Educare Arizona broke ground in a packed ceremony (despite the hot weather) -- donors, stakeholders, neighbors, and a troupe of our littlest MVPs were on hand as Steve and members of the Ounce of Prevention and Bounce Learning Network initiative spoke to the importance of investing in quality early learning.
Donating to high-quality early learning programs like Educare Arizona is a sound investment, recognized and supported by business leaders across the country, including Susie Buffett, Bill Gates, J.B. Pritzker, George Kaiser, and Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman. When we address the needs of children early, we plan for sustainable, productive growth in our communities.
Check out photos of the day below and join our effort to grow health in kids -- thank you for your assist!