Community Foundation challenges northwest Louisiana to raise money for early childhood education
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - In the wake of the worst days of COVID-19, the pandemic has highlighted some of the inequities of society like access to health care and the internet, as well as economic well-being.
One of the most notable being education.
To address the fundamental need for quality education, the Community Foundation of North Louisiana is challenging residents and businesses to raise money to provide access to early childhood education programs.
“Early childhood education is critical for a young person’s brain development,” said Kristi Gustavson, chief executive officer of the Community Foundation. “We know now from research that 90 percent of a child’s brain develops before the age of 5, particularly the language development that happens between the ages of 0 and 5 is crucial.”
The Community Foundation is hoping to raise $800 thousand for early childhood education in Bossier Parish. The organization is looking for generous community members to donate $360 thousand. If this goal is met, the Community Foundation will add $40 thousand and seek a dollar-for-dollar match from the state.
“This year, the state of Louisiana has started a fund that will provide matching dollars for communities that raise money,” Gustavson said.
Previously, Gustavson said Community Foundation helped raise $1 million for Caddo Parish families to access early childhood education.
According to the Community Foundation, “In the fall of 2019, 60 percent of children entering school in Bossier Parish were not kindergarten ready.” However, the benefits of early childhood education go beyond just the child.
“It also helps mom and dad go to work or go to school, and it has an economic impact and benefit for the privately run early childhood care centers,” explained Gustavson.
Copyright 2021 KSLA. All rights reserved.