WISH LIST: $100: grocery store gift cards (medicine, diapers, formula) for 4 families; $500: art and science projects for 45 toddlers; $1000: zoo or museum trips for 50 homeless preschoolers
On any given day, more than 200,000 children have no place to live – and 42% of them are under the age of five. Growing up on the move, they often begin school with developmental disadvantages that create life-long learning problems. Bright Beginnings aims to give them a more secure, positive start. For 20 years, it has offered a rigorous pre-kindergarten curriculum (including counseling, speech therapy, and pre-literacy learning), specially designed for those born into chaotic environments. Welcoming 150 children a year, the Early Head Start and Head Start programs establish a solid educational foundation for reading and writing and ensure early intervention for learning disabilities and health problems (free therapeutic services, and dental, vision, and hearing screenings are all available on site). A strong family services program sees that parents develop the skills to monitor their children's development, meet their basic needs (food, clothing, shelter), and have resources to find employment and a stable home. A bright beginning can lead to a lifetime of success: your support can be the start of something extraordinary.