The Best Investment for Business: Young Children in Stanislaus County
In the past thirty seconds, three more children were born in the United States. Of these three, only two are likely to graduate from high school. Millions of children in the U.S. face lives of lost potential without access to quality prenatal care, healthy and supportive environments, and opportunities to learn. It doesn’t have to be that way in Stanislaus County. Local business leaders can ensure that all children – our future workforce – get an equal chance at a strong start.
New evidence from neuroscience, social science, high-level policy efforts, and a growing concern among business, military, and other civic leaders has generated vast amounts of information regarding the significant impact of early intervention in a child’s life.
Why focus on early childhood? – Early childhood programs cost money, of course, but studies show that the benefits associated with such programs also come with monetary gains and savings. When the projected benefits exceed the projected costs, then these programs can be seen as “paying for themselves” and then some over time. In other words, the original investment generates a financial return. Because high quality early childhood programs promote healthy development, they can generate savings by reducing the need for more expensive interventions later in a child’s life. For example, studies show that participation in high-quality early child care can help children avoid special education, grade repetition, early parenthood, and incarceration – all outcomes that imply large costs for the government and society. Furthermore, children (over the long term) and parents who participate in such programs are more likely to be employed creating tax revenue and enhanced buying power that can positively contribute to the economy.
What does it mean to “invest” in early childhood? – Locally, a group of stakeholders has committed to investing in children. The Stanislaus READS! initiative, led by the Stanislaus County Office of Education, the Children & Families Commission, the Stanislaus County Libraries, and Stanislaus Community Foundation, is a multi-year effort to connect the dots around early childhood literacy so that local students can become lifelong learners and, ultimately, join the workforce and become productive citizens of our community.
Here are ways that you, as a business leader, can support our greatest asset, young children, in Stanislaus County:
Help Expand the Imagination Library – This new program mails a book, for free, to a participating child’s home monthly from birth to age five, providing quality literature to children who otherwise may not have access to books. For a gift of $150, your company can ensure that a child receives a book monthly for five years.
Support Little Free Libraries – Local medical clinics have signed on to house Little Free Libraries in their waiting rooms, stocked with books for children to take home and keep. These libraries will be built by local service groups and, with a gift of $200, your company can sponsor a Little Free Library.
Fund High-Quality Parent Engagement
A centerpiece of the Stanislaus READS! campaign is peer-to-peer parent networking and support, utilizing Parent Cafés at local schools. With a gift of $200, your organization can fund a Parent Café at a local school.
Support Summer Enrichment Programs – Children often fall behind in learning over the summer months. Stanislaus READS! is committed to expanding free or low-cost enrichment programs over the summer. With a gift of $500, your company can sponsor a week’s worth of summer learning for several children in our region.
Promote Early Learning at Your Business – Stanislaus READS! partners welcome the opportunity to share information with your employees about the importance of early childhood, and what they can do, to encourage learning at home. Our community outreach approach is culturally sensitive and adapted to your unique work environment.
Adopt a Local School – Adopt a local elementary school and ask your team to spend time every week mentoring and reading to local students.
Want to learn more?
Visit Stanreads.org or contact the Stanislaus Community Foundation at 209.576.1608 or email@example.com.
By Marian Kaanon, CEO, Stanislaus Community Foundation