Children First is growing the next generation through grant support from Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) and Suncoast Charities for Children. The agency was awarded a $7,500 grant to fund environmentally friendly curriculums at its main campuses in North Port and Venice.
As the exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services for Sarasota County, Children First serves hundreds of children and their families living at or below the Federal Poverty Level ($23,030 for a family of three) across 15 locations each year.
At a recent ribbon cutting ceremony, Children First unveiled the new nature activity center at its’ Venice campus. Another activity center has also been installed at its North Port location. The garden-based items include raised fences, hanging flowerpots, a dual chamber compost tumbler, soil and seeds, a worm farm, and hoses that will encourage a love of learning and nature among the children.
“When children play outdoors, it helps to foster their intellectual, emotional, social and physical development. Being surrounded by nature creates an ever-changing and free-flowing environment that stimulates the senses and truly makes learning fun,” says Vice President of Programs Kathleen Sullivan. “Nature also provides countless opportunities for discovery, creativity, and problem-solving. We are deeply grateful to FPL and Suncoast Charities for their critical support of those we serve, as our children are future stewards of the earth and environment around us.”
“We’re proud to support Children First with this investment in its STEM and sustainability programming to help empower our next generation of leaders and innovators,” FPL External Affairs Manager Devaney Iglesias said.
“Suncoast Charities for Children, FPL, and Children First share a common value of making the community we serve a better place to live, work, and raise a family. This project is a great example of that value we all share and will have such a positive impact on preschool students for years to come,” says Lucy Nicandri, Executive Director of Suncoast Charities.
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.