Studies show that investments in quality early learning are important, especially in the first five year’s of a child’s life. At Martha’s Village and Kitchen, we are lucky enough to partner with Riverside County Children and Families Commission (First 5 Riverside), and we couldn’t be more grateful!
Summer Legislative Site Tours
On July 21, 2016, Martha’s Village and Kitchen and Riverside County Children & Families Commission (First 5 Riverside) hosted a site tour with local legislators including Senator Jeff Stone, Supervisor John J. Benoit, and Octavio Gonzales, the District Director on behalf of Congressman Raul Ruiz, to share what quality looks like in the classroom. These tours showcased the licensed child-care space we provide at Martha’s.
Approximately 82 percent of working families in Riverside County do not have a licensed child-care space available to them and working families often settle for non-licensed child care because it costs half as much as a licensed child-care center. More high-quality programs are needed in Riverside County to adequately deliver the services and resources necessary for the development of young children. The Commission recently approved more than $69 million to narrow a critical gap in quality early learning programs for Riverside County children through age 5 over the next five years.
“We know that improving early childhood education is one of the best investments we can make,” said First 5 Riverside’s Executive Director, Tammi Graham. “The Commission’s actions demonstrate First 5 Riverside’s commitment to ensure more children have a quality start.”
Children’s Services at Martha’s Village and Kitchen
The funding provided by First 5 Riverside, allows Martha’s Village and Kitchen to offer childcare free of cost to 55 children each day of families in crisis who live in the Residential Village at Martha’s or children who are living in shelters, on the street, transitioning out of homeless shelters, children of teen parents, children with special needs, or grandparents who are raising grandchildren.
Many of the clients that we serve have to make some tough choices day in and day out. Rosa Torres, Senior Manager of Programs, said,”They have to decide between paying rent or paying for child care, how can you make that decision?” She went on to say, “With the population that we deal with, it’s not your average child. I know lots of kids go through a lot of things but in the first five years some of these kids have experienced things that you and I won’t. They have lived in cars, under bridges, not having a secure place to call home or even a plate of food.”
Martha’s Village’s childcare center is currently at its max capacity, but with a heart big enough for much more. Torres explained, “”We do have a waiting list of 36-children, out of those 36, about 24 to 25 are infant toddlers. We are currently trying to work on expanding our child development center and opening up two classrooms for infant and toddlers.”
The research is clear: quality early learning experiences matter in the first 5 years of a child’s life. If you would like to donate to help in the development of young children, click the button below:
Funding Challenges For First 5 Riverside
Next years budget has been approved, but the future is always uncertain.
“The challenge is First Five is funded with tobacco tax and as tobacco funds go down, our funding goes down. We are looking for system approaches of investing. This is one of the highest need areas and one of the most successful programs that we have,” said First 5 Riverside’s Executive Director, Tammi Graham.
To support and learn more about First 5 Riverside click HERE.
Local News Coverage
KESQ provided wonderful coverage of the visit by local Legislatures and the First 5 Riverside staff. To see the news clip, click on the button below.