Florida Power & Light Company’s (FPL) 14th annual Power to Care Week will include a collaborative effort with United Way Suncoast (UWS) and Children First that will enrich the lives of Head Start students.
On March 3, the Power to Care effort will bring 25 FPL employee volunteers, friends, and family members to Children First’s main campus, 1723 N Orange Ave. in Sarasota, to build a butterfly garden for students, faculty, and staff to enjoy and improve the area’s landscaping. The volunteer corps is scheduled to arrive at 8 a.m. and conclude the project by noon. Children First is the exclusive provider of Early Head Start and Head Start services for Sarasota County and offers comprehensive services at 15 different sites.
The media is welcome to attend the event, but we ask that media members limit any photography or video recording to the volunteers, not the children.
The butterfly project will extend UWS’ work with both FPL and Children First. As a UWS partner, Children First received $165,000 in grant support from UWS’ Community Investment Fund for the 2021 fiscal year. Children First enhances the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of children through Early Start (birth to 3) and Head Start (3-5), achievements that dovetail with one of UWS’ primary focuses: early learning.
“These investments from our community partners at United Way Suncoast and Florida Power & Light continue to make a critical impact on those we serve. We are deeply appreciative to be included in Power to Care Week and bring awareness to our mission of strengthening our community’s most vulnerable children and families,” says Children First CEO Philip Tavill.
UWS also worked with FPL in 2021 to qualify more of its customers for assistance through its FPL Care to Share ® program, which helps keep the lights on for customers experiencing a temporary financial emergency or personal crisis. FPL recently adopted United Way’s ALICE assistance guidelines, which refers to those in our communities who are “Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed.” It represents those among us who are working but are living paycheck to paycheck due to childcare costs, transportation challenges, high cost of living and more. Based on the new qualification guidelines, FPL estimated that an additional 1.1 million households qualified for the program.
This effort represents just one of the many projects spurred by FPL’s Power to Care Week, which fuels the desire of employee volunteers to help make the communities they serve an even better place to live, work and raise a family. In 2021, despite the limitations created by the pandemic, 680 volunteers across 10 states engaged in 1,070 projects during FPL’s Power to Care Week. The service projects included paracord “survival” bracelet making, a letter-writing campaign for military service members and frontline workers, litter pickup and more.
About Children First:
Founded in 1961 and ranked in the top 1% out of over 1,800 Head Starts nationwide, Children First strengthens children and families by improving the quality of their lives through a comprehensive approach to development, education, health, and well-being. At 15 sites throughout Sarasota County, Children First offers full-day preschool, infant and toddler care, and nutrition and health care assistance to children ages birth to five years old from low-income families. Through Children First, the children receive the social and cognitive skills needed to enter kindergarten and elementary school on track. For more information, call (941) 953-3877 or go to childrenfirst.net.