We recently had the opportunity to speak to Nina, one of our parents at Child’s Path. Nina is a single mom and a nursing student, and she worried that she could not afford early education for her daughter, Paige. Nina felt strongly that Paige needed the opportunity to go to VPK (Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten) to learn to assimilate with other children before kindergarten. Paige was shy around other children. Socially, she just wasn’t ready for kindergarten. Nina said, “I thought VPK was a free program, but it is not free. I was so worried I wouldn’t find a way to put her in VPK, and she really needed it.”
After Nina discovered that the state only provides funds for three hours of VPK a day, at roughly $4.55 an hour in the state of Florida, she says she was stressed about how she would afford the cost for the rest of the day. For three full months, she looked almost daily for a VPK program she could afford. Nina works full-time, goes to school and is a great mom, but the high cost of childcare had her deeply worried that her daughter would not have the opportunity to attend VPK.
“When I found CCCR, it was such relief,” Nina explains. CCCR provides tuition assistance to cover the fees not included in the VPK program for working parents on a sliding scale, depending on their income. Just as Nina had hoped, her daughter, Paige, has made incredible strides since starting at Child’s Path last year. “Socially, she has been able to make so many friends and even develop leadership skills,” says Nina. Nina also gushes with pride when she speaks about her daughter’s growing academic skills.
Nina continues, “As a single parent, receiving tuition assistance has been very helpful. I haven’t had to worry about not making my budget every week, every month. Since starting at Child’s Path, it’s been stress free.”
At CCCR, we know that parents desperately want to provide everything their child needs. The high cost of housing and childcare in Collier County makes enrolling children in a quality early learning program unattainable for many parents. There are 4,000 children under the age of five in Collier County that do not attend early education programs. CCCR needs to grow to accommodate this growing need!