Thanks to our contributors, we are working to help make dreams come true for young children like Jaylen, who wants to be a teacher when he grows up.

We work with the adults who have the greatest ability to shape young lives, like Jaylen's child care teacher, to get it right at the very beginning of young children's education, giving them the greatest chance of arriving at school prepared and ready to excel throughout life.

At four years old, Jaylen is in the care of Kathy Elaine Smith's Registered Home where he is benefitting from resources made available to the owner, Kathy Smith. With the help of college scholarships, Kathy went back to school and is continuing her education to better serve her home's children and their families.

ksmithKathy says, "I am most excited going forward because I have new classroom tools and I'm getting the extra training needed to be the best I can be in caring for children in my home. I am able to prepare lessons and activities for children and make learning fun for them. I can make their days interesting, while giving them the tools they need to succeed in school and life. These children are our community's future. They can be doctors, lawyers, teachers, even president.

I aim to be one teacher who made a difference in the lives of my kids. I would love for them to come back 10 or 20 years from now and say 'Thank you for giving me the tools I needed for school and life!' -- that would be success for me. I continue to encourage them to be the best they can be and to keep believing in themselves... the sky is the limit.

I am very excited about working with Collaborative for Children in the future and can't wait to see all of the exciting things to come this year. Their's is an awesome organization and I thank God they are here for me."

Professional development opportunities made possible by Gulf Coast Workforce Board-Workforce Solutions Quality Improvement Grant.