A once in a lifetime early learning opportunity for our kids!
[guest_author name=”Michael Heinisch” blurb=”Michael Heinisch is Executive Director at Kent Youth and Family Services. In addition to serving as Co-Chair of United Way’s Public Policy Council, he serves on the boards of Community In Schools Kent, Building Better Futures, co-chairs the King County Alliance For Human Services and is board president of Community Center for Educational Results. “]
Best Starts For Kids represents a long sought new opportunity to invest in our kids. It provides a shared hope for all kids through investments in prevention and early intervention, early and often, on a scale never before attempted by government at any level anywhere in the country. By making investments “early and often” Best Starts For Kids aligns completely with United Way of King County’s vision of building a community where students graduate, families are financially stable and people have homes. One of our young teachers shared the following story. With Best Starts For Kids, here in South King County I can already foresee, that stories like these will never reach this point for our youngest, our future.
A 3-year old girl sat quiet and often did not want to come to school. Mom continued to bring her every day, despite her screaming and crying. Every day at lunch, she would sit by me. One lunch, she really opened up and told me something she had heard her mom say at home. At the parent teacher conference, I shared this with her mom. Mom’s reply: “I did not realize that she was listening or even understood what I was talking about.”
14 months later the conversation I had with the 3-year old was the catalyst to where mom and daughter are today.” Mom shared that she was in a domestic violence situation and did not realize that her child was carrying that with her to school every day. She appreciated that I was able to build a strong relationship with her child where she felt comfortable enough to open up and share what was bothering her. Mom found the strength to walk away from the relationship. She realized her self-worth and went back to school. She says, “when my daughter found her voice, I realized I had a voice too.” She now hopes of getting more children and families connected to early learning services.
Best Starts For Kids is a once in a generation opportunity for the voters of King County. It’s a “human infrastructure investment” of sufficient scale to change the course of every kids’ life in King County. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for our kids!