HOUSTON, TX (April 6, 2016) Earlier today, Collaborative for Children kicked off its 2016 Circle of Friends giving campaign at its annual State of the Children address to report on young children ages 0 – 5 in our region. The organization serves a 13-county area in the Texas Gulf Coast, home to 1.7 million children, almost 600 thousand of them between the ages of birth to 5 years old. The event brought together key stakeholders in the community around the critical need to enhance early childhood education in the region.
Collaborative for Children president and CEO Carol Shattuck provided an overview of Collaborative for Children’s mission, stating that, “we are passionate about working to improve the quality of programs where children are already engaged, and partner with their families to make sure they understand their important role as their child’s first teacher.” Ms. Shattuck went on to highlight the impact the organization is having in the community, “For parents, our parenting classes and intensive parenting education reach 1,200 families annually. In fact, last year we helped 33,000 families understand their options and find child care through our QualiFind service. We also help child care teachers and directors, providing trainings, coaching and mentoring that impacts over 7,400 teachers and directors each year.”
The keynote speaker was Dr. Dana Suskind, who is the founder and director of the Thirty Million Words Initiative and is a Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Chicago and Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implantation Program. Dr. Suskind highlighted the significant gap of 30 million words that separates Houston’s poorest children from their affluent peers. She also discussed how she is helping parents enhance their home language environment in order to optimize their child’s brain development.
The event also included an announcement of a generous donation from Tellepsen to fund an Collaborative for Children early childhood quality improvement effort in partnership with the Houston YMCA. Howard Tellepsen of Tellepsen and Paul McEntire of the Houston YMCA addressed the audience, and shared how the funds would be used to make a significant difference in improving the quality of early education in our community.
Collaborative for Children believes that early learning is the key to long-term success – not just for our children, but for our entire community. We work with all the key stakeholders who shape our children’s success – parents, caregivers, educators, legislators and community leaders – to make sure our region’s children have all the learning opportunities they need to succeed, in school and throughout their lives. This will ensure that Greater Houston region has the skilled workforce necessary to compete in the changing world market.