Foundation Boosts Southington Early Childhood Plan

Community Plan for Southington’s Young Children Takes Next Step with Infusion of New Funding

$75,000 in Grants Enable Collaborative Plan to Enter Implementation Stage

Southington, Conn. (July 8, 2014) – Following a year of research into the state of early childhood education in Southington, the Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington (ECCS) is ready to enter the implementation phase of its Community Plan for Southington’s Young Children thanks to an infusion of $75,000 in new grant funding.

Included in the new funding are grants of $20,000 from the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, $50,000 from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund – a Hamden-based nonprofit that supports community-based educational programming for Connecticut children – and $5,000 from the Southington Board of Education.

The new funding enables the Collaborative to elevate part-time coordinator Dr. Mary Yuskis to the full-time positon of Director, and to accordingly begin the process of implementing the recommendations from the Community Plan that was first presented to local educators, community leaders, the business community and Southington families on May 29 at The Orchards at Southington.

“This is an exciting next step in the road to an even better and brighter future for Southington children and families,” said Dr. Yuskis, the lead author of the plan who has worked closely since her original part-time appointment in January with a wide variety of community partners to bring the plan to fruition. “I am excited about this opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of early childhood education, to unite those who feel the same, and to coordinate the services and opportunities that are available in Southington while also trying to recognize and develop new ones.”

“We are proud to continue our important role as a lead funder of the Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington, a major component of the Foundation’s First Years First early childhood development initiative,” said Jim Williamson, President of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain. “Thanks to this wonderful collaboration of the Graustein Foundation, the Southington Board of Education and other community partners, we are making a difference in the lives of Southington’s children.”

“On behalf of the Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington and its partners, we’d like to thank the Community Foundation, the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund and the Southington Board of Education for the confidence that they have placed in the Collaborative,” added Michelle Slimak, Co-Chair of the Collaborative. “With Dr. Yuskis at the helm full-time, and with the continued support of these and other community partners, we are entering into a new era of diverse resources and access to high-quality early childhood education for Southington children.”

The Community Plan for Southington’s Young Children, said Dr. Yuskis, showcases what Southington is doing right for its young children and what needs to be improved, as well as how the Collaborative can build new and reinforce existing partnerships within the community.  The plan was compiled to outline the process for promoting the next steps in support of the programs and services available to young children and their families.

Over the course of the next year, said Dr. Yuskis, the Collaborative and its network of partners will begin the work of implementing new services and initiatives to promote the health, education and well-being of Southington’s children. Among the priority items to be tackled, said Dr. Yuskis, is heightened community-wide awareness of the importance of early childhood education in preparing children for success.

The Community Plan is available on-line at www.southingtonearlychildhood.org in the About Us section.

The Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington is a group of committed educators, community leaders, parents, healthcare providers, childcare providers and members of the community who are deeply invested in the growth, development and academic success of young children in Southington. The Collaborative’s mission is that “all Southington children will enter school ready to learn.”  ECCS is dedicated to three goals:  1) Advocating for high quality preschool and childcare; 2) Empowering parents and families through workshops and educational programs; and 3) Being a wide ranging resource for community members on the subject of early childhood care and education.

Established in 1941, the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain connects donors who care with causes that matter in Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Southington. It does this by raising resources and developing partnerships that make a measurable improvement in the quality of life in each of these communities. For more information, visit www.cfgnb.org.