To increase our capacity to expand our interventions in the community to ensure that all children enter kindergarten prepared to succeed, we have added additional staff. Please join us in welcoming our new staff members:
David Nyitray. David joins us as Associate Director and brings a background in business, project management and development to the initiative. David will work closely with our task forces as well as assist with general business management.
Donna LB Lowry, M.D. Donna joins us as Medical Director. Donna has more than 20 years of medical experience as a clinician and educator. Donna will be responsible for managing and expanding health care initiatives.
Febe Gomez. Although we have contracted with Febe part-time for the last year, she has just recently joined us full time as Community Outreach Coordinator. Febe has put her teaching background to work in the community by connecting with families in our opportunity zones. Some of Febe’s work is highlighted in the Community Outreach section.
Erica Castilleja. Erica is another employee who has been with us for some time now, but is joining us in an increased role. For the past year, Erica has been employed under the pilot-project Health Beginnings working in the Holland Community Health Clinic as a community health worker connecting with the most at-risk families of 0-5 children. Erica will continue to work in the clinics but will also have an added focus on community outreach.
A new report published by the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation states that the return on investment for every at risk child in Michigan that enters kindergarten prepared is approximately $39,000. View the report>
1 donor + 1 student = ready for school
The average cost of preschool tuition in our community is $500 per semester or $1,000 per year. This is more than many families can afford. The Ready for School tuition assistance program provides a valuable preschool experience for qualifying children in Holland, Zeeland and Hamilton. The community has challenged us to send 200 children to preschool this year. With your support we can meet that challenge. Learn more about the program and how you can help >
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In order to connect with parents, we must meet them where they are. Ready for School staff and volunteers have been busy connecting with families at community and neighborhood events. See where we've been and where you can find us next >
Have you heard?
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has committed $1,957,467 over three years to Ready for School. This is the second investment from the Foundation, with the first being a $398,894 grant awarded last year. Local donor commitment to the initiative from area businesses, individuals and foundations, robust volunteerism and successful short-term outcomes all contributed in demonstrating to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation that this community views children and families as a priority and has mobilized to improve early education.
Thank you to all of our volunteers, donors and community advocates for helping us secure this incredible investment for our community.
View media coverage >
Well, at least our marketing is. Fairly Painless Advertising was recently awarded two Silver ADDY Awards for their design of the Ready for School posters and website. In addition to being award winning, these communication pieces proved successful in spreading awareness of the importance of the first year's of a child's life.
Ready for School operates on an army of volunteers and the generosity of donors. We depend on our community businesses and individuals and we are so grateful for their support. A special thanks this month to:
Evergreen Commons for helping in preparation of the Tulip Time float.
Anne Ellis, Sally Farabee, Mary Mc Cune, Carol Rickey, Angela Tracy, Jean Van Daalen, Bette Williams and Sue Williams for preparing R.E.A.D.Y. kits for distribution to families through Healthy Beginnings.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Outstate Michigan and Tony Castillo for a $16,500 grant to purchase bilingual books for families.
Call for Volunteers
We could use your help! We are in need of office volunteers to assemble materials, organize resources and assist with data entry. If you have some time and are willing to help, please contact Marta Muniz at firstname.lastname@example.org