BY FAMILY SERVICES
Family Services has launched the Raising Every Child capital campaign in order to address Forsyth County’s immediate needs of the most vulnerable population, children from birth to age 5. The goal for Raising Every Child is $3.75 million.
At the official public launch event in September, the campaign raised $2,811,027 or 75% of its goal from community foundations, businesses, and private donors.
Now, the organization is asking the community to help close the opportunity gap and give every child the start they need to succeed in school and life.
“Studies show that the first five years of a child’s life are a time of rapid brain development – a once-only window of opportunity when a child’s mind becomes wired for success (or hardship) that will last into adulthood,” said Bob Feikema, President and Chief Executive Officer of Family Services.
“Children who do not have access to quality Pre-K programs and services start behind and constantly struggle to catch up. Too many in Forsyth County never catch up.”
The Raising Every Child campaign will expand and fund several projects, including:
- Repair and improve existing classrooms at Sarah Y. Austin Child Development Center and add five additional preschool classrooms to increase the number of children served by over 300 three- and four-year-olds.
- Provide 100 teachers in 50 classrooms with training, coaching and mentoring in how to address the behavioral and emotional challenges of 3- and 4-year-olds
- Partner with Wake Forest Baptist and Imprints Cares to expand physical, social, and emotional health services to 1,500 young children and their families annually
- Establish the foundation for a county-wide engagement campaign, The Pre-K Priority, to make high-quality Pre-K programs available to all four-year-old children in Forsyth County
The need is great in Forsyth County as more than 8,000 children, age 5 and under, are growing up under the constant stress and pressures of living in poverty. More than half of the children who enter kindergarten in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools are at risk of falling behind, particularly in reading, from the first day they start school. In addition, a 2017 Harvard University study ranked Forsyth County one of the worst counties in the United States in helping poor children up the income ladder.
Studies show that these children can benefit from high-quality early childhood development programs. Current Family Services programs are working and improving those numbers, yet limited public funding is not meeting the needs of all preschoolers who are eligible. The organization needs additional funds to expand, collaborate and impact more children and their families than ever before.
“We must build a community culture that views this as critical to the future vitality of Forsyth County,” said Bill Reingold, campaign co-chair along with wife, Peggy Reingold. “Every child deserves the chance to reach his or her full potential. The future of our community depends on making this possible. The sustained success of this crucial endeavor requires a nurturing community. And for that to happen, we must come together as never before to expand these powerful, proven solutions.”
The Reingolds, along with honorary co-chairs, Shelby, and Lee Chaden and Woody Clinard, have led a cabinet of 37 community volunteers to get the Campaign started.
Community donors can visit familyservicesforsyth.org to learn how to help.