News & Highlights

State of the Children Address Launches Fundraising Campaign, Announces New Partnership

Collaborative for Children’s annual State of the Children address April 6 was the official start of the community campaign for the 2016 Circle of Friends annual giving society. Together with funds raised through the staff and board campaigns, Circle of Friends funding supports Collaborative for Children’s priority needs and is a critical component of the organization’s budget each year.  

To an audience of 250 guests, Collaborative for Children president and CEO Carol Shattuck presented on the state of early child care in the Greater Houston region and the challenges that exist around program quality and access to care for many families. The importance of access to quality child care and quality adult-child interactions during the early years of birth to five also was highlighted by keynote speaker Dr. Dana Suskind, a cochlear surgeon and author of “Thirty Million Words: Building a Child’s Brain.”

Through her work as director of the Thirty Million Words Initiative in Chicago, Dr. Suskind and her team work with parents of young children to harness the power of parent language to build a child’s brain and impact his or her future. Her work is based upon the “Thirty Million Word Gap,” the result of a groundbreaking 1995 study which found that children in low-income homes heard thirty million fewer words by their third birthday than children in affluent homes, which is a factor in school readiness and later success in school.

Collaborative for Children’s College Bound from Birth program aims to close that gap and ensure that children in Houston’s low-income neighborhoods are ready for school, reading on grade level by third grade, graduating from high school and pursuing higher education. In an exciting announcement made at the State of the Children Address, Howard Tellepsen of Tellepsen announced his family’s gift of $500,000 to bring College Bound from Birth to a third neighborhood in Houston in partnership with the Houston YMCA.

“We will partner with the Collaborative and the Y to establish a new early childhood development program that will become a showcase for both the YMCA and the Collaborative for Children,” Mr. Tellepsen said. He added, “It will enable both organizations to demonstrate to other child care programs and community leaders the power of partnership and what is possible in high-quality early learning environments.”

Following that announcement, guests heard firsthand from a College Bound from Birth center director, Cynthia Miranda, about the positive impact the program has made on her, her teachers and the families she serves. “Through College Bound from Birth, Alpha Academy has improved tremendously – starting with myself and improving my staff and, more importantly, providing an improved program for children under our care,” she said.

Circle of Friends campaign chair Marian Hilpert closed the event with inspiring words about the impact of donated funds and a call for all in attendance to be part of the solution in closing the gap. She said, “Every day brings new promise, new opportunities. We just need to bring those opportunities to more children.” Gifts to Circle of Friends will help Collaborative for Children do just that. Donate Now.