It’s a cold winter morning when Margaret, a newly divorced mom of two, gets up early to go to her recently obtained job needed to support her family of three. She is relieved she doesn’t have to make breakfast or lunch and feels blessed that she also doesn’t worry about her children who have adjusted nicely. She knows she’ll receive a warm smile from supportive teachers who will help her transition her toddler and preschooler into a day of play, social interactions, fun, meals and love.
When she picks up, she can access the onsite food pantry until her next paycheck. The end of the month is the hardest, and she still needs to buy gas to make it to work. Her children are nourished, rested, loved, but also energized by all they’ve learned, and she is now confident that her almost 5-year-old will be ready for kindergarten. Prior to this experience, Margaret didn’t have a need for preschool and couldn’t have afforded it anyway. She has only wanted the best for her children, and when being home was not an option, she found it difficult to find a place for them that she could afford on her sole salary, with low ratios and quality staff. That is until she found Giraffe Laugh Early Learning Centers.
Giraffe Laugh, a local nonprofit helping families in the Treasure Valley, believes that all children, regardless of their family’s income, deserve access to quality programs that ensure school readiness, empowers parents and builds strong futures. In Idaho, only half of all children are ready when they enter kindergarten, which results in lower graduation rates, a need for higher remedial intervention and more behavior problems. Children living in low- to moderate-income families have the least access or opportunities to level their playing field.
At Giraffe Laugh, every child is seen as being worthy of a wonderful life, and a positive start is seen as one of the best economic investments communities can make in their future workforce and in the happiness of its citizens. Giraffe Laugh currently has three locations serving children 0-5 and serves about 200 children annually. Scholarships make it possible for families like Margaret’s to get the care and education so important for all of our youngest learners to have. The hope found in our buildings each day for a future that we can see in each child is remarkable and inspiring.
If you’d like to learn more, join us for one of our Little Shoes, Big Dreams tours held in person or on zoom, or contact Cassandra@giraffelaugh.org to get more involved. We love our volunteers, and education is something everyone can be involved in!