Before she came to ChildCareGroup, Jasmine and her children were living out a scenario that is all too common among Dallas, TX families today. Though she was doing her best to raise and support her family, Jasmine did not have the resources to pursue higher education and secure long-term employment with a living wage. As a result, her children were among the 38% of children living at or below the poverty line in Dallas County.
Jasmine knew the key to providing a better life for her children was to further her education, but she struggled to find affordable, quality child care for her youngest son, Jacob. Without child care, Jasmine could not attend classes. And with the high cost of child care – which can total as much as the annual tuition at a 4-year public university – care for Jacob was out of reach. In addition to all this, Jacob was born with a congenital abnormality in his brain, and he needed more care and attention than a typical child care center could provide. Jasmine needed a high quality early childhood education program for Jacob, but without the financial resources to make it happen, she was stuck.
When Jacob was three years old, Jasmine discovered ChildCareGroup and enrolled him in our MLK Early Care and Education Center. There, she found the highest quality early childhood education programs available, as well as teachers and programs geared towards helping Jasmine and Jacob succeed – all at no cost. It was the solution Jasmine needed.
ChildCareGroup helped Jacob with his developmental and academic delays caused by his birth defect, and helped him become ready for school. Having access to this safe, nurturing, high quality early education program was a relief in itself, but ChildCareGroup also provided Jasmine with great support as well. She worked with her ChildCareGroup Family Advocate to create educational and career goals and action plans for herself. Jasmine enrolled in Eastfield College, where she studied business administration. Equipped with a better education, Jasmine was able to join the other 80% of ChildCareGroup parents who are employed or enrolled in job training while their children are learning in our programs.
With a strong educational footing and the resources and support from her ChildCareGroup Family Advocate, Jasmine found more than a job; a career path opened up for her, and she began to see a path out of poverty for her family. Jasmine and her children relied on many kinds of housing and assistance programs before coming to ChildCareGroup. Now, Jasmine no longer needs government programs to get by. Today, she is a self-supporting and productive member of our Dallas economy and Jacob is a thriving second grader.
ChildCareGroup’s quality early education programs help children become kindergarten ready. And we go even further, investing in the whole family for long-term results. Emerging research from the Aspen Institute, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Center for Law and Social Policy indicates that programs addressing the needs of both parents and children disrupt the cycle of poverty. Two-generation programs increase the level of parent engagement and post-secondary education credentials, ultimately creating more opportunities for economic mobility. By investing in parents and children, like Jasmine and Jacob, the community realizes a much greater return on social investment.
ChildCareGroup’s partners – like Alliance Data – help address the needs of parents and children and break the cycle of generational poverty in our community. Investments in quality, two-generation early childhood education programs save taxpayers money on later interventions and correctional programs for children. They also help parents prepare for and enter the workforce, become productive members of our community, and participate financially in our local economy. Investing in ChildCareGroup is good for children, good for parents, good for businesses, and ultimately good for our entire community.
Victoria Mannes, President and CEO, joined ChildCareGroup in September 2011. She has extensive experience in fundraising and nonprofit leadership, marketing and community relations. Her past professional experience includes serving as President of The Wilson Foundation, VP/State Manager of Corporate Philanthropy for JPMorganChase, and Marketing Director for Thompson & Knight. Tori was a member of ChildCareGroup’s Board of Trustees from 1996-2001 and served as Board Chair in 2000. She was voted an Honorary Life Member in 2002.
This post was originally published on Justmeans.com
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