In the Greater Austin area, child poverty rates are nearly 25 percent higher than the national average and only 13 percent of children raised in Austin’s low-income neighborhoods enter kindergarten ready to learn.
These concerning statistics are the target of UWATX’s Success By 6 program through initiatives like Play To Learn, a project that targets low-income families from under-resourced neighborhoods in Greater Austin and surrounding areas. Play To Learn provides high-quality early education for children alongside their parents. The goal is to help parents learn how to put their children on the path to success in school and life.
We recently say down with Play To Learn mom, Naomi, and her daughter (with the most precious blonde curls you’ll ever see), Tirzah, to hear how the program is supporting them.
Why did you and your daughter start participating in United Way’s Play To Learn program?
I was in search of fun things to do with my daughter. She’s at the age where she likes to explore and interact and, most importantly, be active, so I thought this was a great opportunity for us to learn and grow together.
Do you feel the program is having an impact on you and your daughter?
It has had an impact in both our lives. I believe it’s very important to set routines and schedules with toddlers and I had no idea on where and how to start; Play To Learn has helped me create a safe environment for her, where there is discipline and fun mixed together!
What’s the biggest benefit of participating in the Play To Learn program?
It creates great habits, such as sharing, socializing, and it helps us understand different people and different point of views. It also broadens your mindset and lets you expand your routine. I think it’s a great tool for toddlers because it gives them the opportunity to be in constant desire to learn and grow.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for creating programs for families that are in search of new ways to interact with their children. I know for a fact our daughter is extremely happy going to school and learning as she plays.
Every day in Austin, we’re working to ensure each child has access to high-quality education, every family has the tools they need to be financially stable, and health and human services are readily available for all.