The Early Learning Coalition of the Nature Coast was established under Florida Statute. The Florida Legislature recognized that “school readiness programs increase children’s chances of achieving future educational success and becoming more productive members of society”. The Early Learning Coalition of the Nature Coast operates the School Readiness Program and the Voluntary Prekindergarten Program in Citrus, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy and Sumter counties.
Some of the more widely known programs of the Early Learning Coalition have been mentioned above but are not just limited to the School Readiness and VPK Programs. The Early Learning Coalition also provides child care resources and referrals, parent resources and the child passenger safety program. The Coalition has established a Board of Directors representing all five of the counties that they serve. This Board brings together the primary agencies in our area that work with children and the private business sector.
Robert C. Wardlow III, secretary and treasurer of the U.S. Family Foundation, has served on the Early Learning Coalition of the Nature Coast’s board in the past. He brings to our Board of Directors a vast knowledge on the Early Learning Coalition of the Nature Coast. For example, we learned that for every donated dollar, the federal government will match the donation 15.67:1. That means for every $300 donated, one child in our community can receive educational services for a full year.
By sponsoring a child, funding goes to the School Readiness Program that helps to prepare at-risk children for success in Kindergarten, as well as assisting families in becoming self-sufficient by helping with their child care costs. The program requires that the Early Learning Coalition of the Nature Coast raise private donations to draw down the federal funding for the community. In 2015 and 2016, the U.S .Family foundation contributed $5,000 to the Early Learning Coalition of the Nature Coast. This donation helped about 32 children receive the funding necessary for a full school year of educational services. One of the most important missions of the U.S. Family foundation is to help the vulnerable in our local community. With such necessary services provided to the most vulnerable in our community, we are very happy to support the Early Learning Coalition of the Nature Coast.
You can learn more about this organization and donating by visiting www.elc-naturecoast.org or calling (352) 563-9939.