Children First wins $10,000 grant to assist low-income families with early childhood education

Organization says that with the number of such families increasing, it continues to contend with a waiting list for assistance

Image from the Children First website
Image from the Children First website

Children First recently received a $10,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County to provide tuition assistance to preschool-age children in low-income families for the 2016-2017 school year, Children First has announced.

Each year, Children First serves more than 600 children, ages 5 and under, and their families, a news release points out. More than 90 percent of them live at or below the federal poverty level of $20,160 for a family of three, the release says. Yet, more than 400 additional children and their families have remained on the agency’s wait list because of a shortage in funding, the release adds. The grant from the Community Foundation “begins to address this gap, although the agency says more support is needed due to the growing number of families living in poverty,” the release notes.

Last spring, as another way to aid more people, Children First launched its Raise Your Hand campaign, the release says. The initiative has brought in more than $3 million to-date. The goal is to reduce the number of children on the waiting list, provide more personalized attention for students in classrooms, increase on-site support for enrolled families facing emotional and behavioral challenges, and intensify family advocacy services, the release explains.