Dear <<First Name>>,
I’m taking a more personal tact for this month’s update rather than a typical newsletter format, because the strength of LAUNCH Flagstaff is based on personal relationship and connection.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and this is top of mind for me as we move through the COVID-19 pandemic and the looming economic recession that will likely follow. The stress today on our families is unprecedented and my fear is that some children may bear the brunt of that reality.
The Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth recently published their Prevention Plan & Needs Assessment. In the report, Virginia Watahomigie CCC&Y Executive Director says, “We can no longer say-this is not my problem. The effects of childhood trauma have tremendous costs to society, and it is imperative that we develop the understanding of why and what can be done.”
One way LAUNCH Flagstaff is supporting Virginia’s call to action is in continuing to move forward in our collaborative work to create the Elevate PreK preschool expansion pilot for Flagstaff. Part of this program is the Early Learning Family Partner, who will provide much needed infrastructure for early childhood educators. In addition to connecting families with early childhood education resources, the ELFP will help families connect to other existing community resources including parenting and mental well-being resources.
Through our research partner at Northern Arizona University, we will measure Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) not only of children in the program, but also their parents/caregivers and even teachers. Understanding the depth of the historical emotional trauma in families and teachers will help us ensure the fidelity and quality of instruction and supports for Elevate PreK
We intend to have the Early Learning Family Partner up and running by the end of the month.
Open Early Childcare Centers
We know that childcare centers are providing a vital resource to critical workers in healthcare, emergency management, and other essential services who are unable to work from home.
Additionally, they provide critical relief to families who may be at their breaking point. According to most early childhood experts, providing childcare away from home to relieve some stress on families far out-weighs the risk of spreading illness.
Please help me share the love to these early childhood centers that remain open, albeit barely hanging on because of reduced enrollment by families who are keeping their children home.
If I've missed a center that is open but not on this list, please let me know.
First Things First has also expressed commitment for continued funding of their Quality First Scholarships to ensure that families who need financial support will receive it. Thank you.
Did you know? Small business like early childcare centers, non-profits, and others can apply for financial grants from the COVID-19 Relief Fund through the Small Business Administration at www.sba.gov.
Our Educators Rock
Let’s acknowledge the fantastic leadership in all of our K-12 schools, Coconino Community College, and Northern Arizona University who have shifted at a moments notice to accommodate students through alternative platforms of learning and addressing the gaps for those students who may not have access to technology.
Thank you to all our teachers who seemingly overnight flipped a switch on how they are educating our children. Flagstaff’s educators truly are innovators and it shows today.
As Mike Penca, FUSD Superintendent, said in the LAUNCH Flagstaff Steering Committee meeting yesterday, “our schools are open. It’s only our buildings that are closed.”
Thank you FUSD for continuing to serve breakfast and lunch to any child under 18 no matter what school they attend. This is one more potential family stressor that is mitigated through your compassion.
- Resources that may be useful during this time:
from Expect More Arizona
We truly live in a magnificent community. I am grateful to be here with you.