Giving a Head Start to a Brighter Future

May 3, 2022

A girl with a big pink bow in her hair having fun on a seesaw
Boy with education toys

On behalf of our Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers, thank you to everyone for your thoughtful support of Children First during the 2022 Giving Challenge and being the one to create rays of hope and sunshine for our children and families!

We are proud to share that, with the match on top of the match provided by Children First supporter Linda Rhault, and a total of 260 gifts made by you, our wonderful community of supporters, your impact TRIPLED to raise a total of $128,969!

As our most successful Giving Challenge campaign to-date, Children First landed at 14th place overall out of 669 participating nonprofits. We are also excited to share that we placed 9th in the large organization category for overall donors gifts!

Your impact continues to create brighter futures for our children and families now, and for generations to come. From the babies who are yet to be born, to the five-year-olds who are ready to rock kindergarten and beyond, we know that our community’s most vulnerable are receiving the love and support necessary to thrive.

One parent, Kenny, experienced this incredible impact when his son, Matthew, was enrolled. When Matthew started at Children First, the staff realized he needed early intervention speech therapy. Thankfully, he was able to get that support immediately, right there on campus as part of our agency’s Inclusion Services.

“I’m very proud to share that when Matthew started kindergarten this past fall, he no longer needed therapy because of the incredible progress he had made. It means the world knowing that my son started kindergarten on equal footing because of Children First and their services!”

Kenny also found support personally through his Family Advocate, Yesenia. After being encouraged to run for the parent-led Policy Council and getting elected by his fellow peers, Kenny realized the impact of his leadership. After serving as Liaison to our Board of Directors for the 2021-22 school year, we are proud to share that Kenny was officially elected to our Board of Directors in January 2023.

“It makes me feel so proud to continue advocating for children and families in need. And I know I couldn’t have achieved this without the support from my loving wife, Lisa, my Family Advocate, Yesenia, and our entire community.”

We appreciate Giving Challenge host Community Foundation of Sarasota County, with giving strengthened by The Patterson Foundation.

Children First is proud to serve our community as Sarasota County’s exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services, offering high-quality early childhood education and family strengthening services to pregnant women, children ages birth to five, and their families for the past 61 years. This wouldn’t be possible without incredible donors like you.

“Thank you all for believing in Matthew, believing in me, and believing in families like ours. Children are our future, and they need us now more than ever. Together, we can continue transforming the lives of our community’s most vulnerable and help them discover their full potential!”