Did you know that the average annual cost of high quality early childhood care is nearly $10,000? Imagine a family that is already struggling to make ends meet faced with an additional expense of $9,734, the average cost of high quality childcare in Austin according to the Texas Workforce Board. Even for a family with two adults working full time at minimum wage, that’s a third of the family’s income for the year going to childcare instead of housing, food, utilities or other necessary expenses.
Because of this high cost and the barrier it represents to students starting kindergarten, United Way for Greater Austin supports childcare centers serving low-income families with free or reduced tuition through the Success By 6 Center Project. The initiative currently works with 13 childcare centers, serving over 1,000 children in Austin. The Center Project works with these centers to help them meet state and national standards for quality early childhood education including training for teachers, leveraging in-kind and volunteer resources to improve facilities and providing data collection and analysis to improve individual outcomes for students.
On Aug. 19, employees from all seven Kerbey Lane Café (KLC) locations joined Hands On Central Texas (HOCT) to beautify Open Door Preschool East – one of the longest running partner schools of the Center Project. KLC volunteers painted four classrooms, over half of the rooms serving students. While the KLC volunteers were not expert painters, HOCT staff provided a short training and in-depth project coordination to ensure volunteers felt comfortable and completed quality work. The students at Open Door Preschool East now have bright, freshly painted rooms to learn and play in.
Through United Way for Greater Austin’s volunteer center, HOCT, the Center Project leverages the time and expertise of volunteers to improve the center facilities including painting classrooms, building learning gardens, creating teacher resource rooms and making playgrounds safer for students. Throughout the year, HOCT is looking for corporate partners, like KLC, and skilled individuals to address the critical facilities improvement needs at our partner centers. Both skilled and unskilled volunteers can make a difference in Austin’s early childhood education landscape through donating their time!
Opportunities to support the Success By 6 Center Project and many other nonprofits throughout Austin are available now at the Sept. 23 Fall Day of Caring. Individuals and teams are invited to sign up for a project and join us for a free appreciation lunch at United Way for Greater Austin.
If you want to get involved in the Center Project facilities improvement projects, contact firstname.lastname@example.org