80 by 3 photo

According to Wilder Research, an estimated 12,000 three-year-olds in the Twin Cities have experienced trauma, which can have lasting effects on their brain development. Responding to this crisis, Greater Twin Cities United Way (United Way) last week launched an early childhood education initiative “80x3: Resilient from the Start,” with  $1.2 million in grants to nine local early child care centers to help  them build capacity in trauma-sensitive caregiving and to help families navigate community resources.

"80x3 gets its name from research indicating that 80 percent of a child's brain development happens by age three," said Jamie Bonczyk, 80x3 Program Officer, Greater Twin Cities United Way. "For every child to succeed, it is so important they receive high-quality care in safe, nurturing environments during those developmentally critical early years."

Research shows trauma-sensitive caregiving can help children strengthen their resiliency, and a wide body of evidence demonstrates long-lasting benefits of early intervention that follow children into adulthood with higher educational attainment and higher wages. The nine child care organizations funded by 80x3 support children and families experiencing poverty and communities disproportionally impacted by poverty, including Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander and People of Color.

"The urgency of 80x3 couldn't be greater. High-quality early child care can change the lives of children and their families — and accelerate our state's economic growth,” said John Wilgers, President and CEO, Greater Twin Cities United Way. “80x3 showcases the transformative change that is possible when we ‘think big’ and commit ourselves to innovation."

Trauma-Sensitive Professional Development

Leaders and educators from United Way’s 80x3 partner organizations will receive professional development in trauma-sensitive care and healing-centered engagement. This training will ensure organizations and individual caregivers are equipped to recognize and mitigate the effects of trauma among the children they serve.

Recruitment and Retention

A long history of public underinvestment has made the field of early childhood care inaccessible to many with a passion for children and families, which negatively impacts the quality of care. United Way’s 80x3 grants will cover coaching for partner organizations in recruiting and retaining high-quality staff who reflect the communities they serve.

Navigating Systems

Identifying and accessing a network of family supports and community resources for working families is a common challenge, yet few organizations have the capacity to fully meet these needs. United Way grants will help partner organizations establish new navigator resources for families.

Nonprofit Organizations Receiving 80x3 Funding:

Amherst H. Wilder Child Development Center

Baby’s Space: A Place to Grow

Catholic Charities of St. Paul & Minneapolis - Northside Child Development Center

Centro Tyrone Guzman

Hallie Q. Brown Community Center

People Serving People - Center of Excellence

Phyllis Wheatley Community Center

The Family Partnership - Four Directions Center

The Family Partnership - Northside Center

An advisory board oversees the work of the 80x3 initiative, and the experiences and feedback of the organizations receiving 80x3 grants will inform the program's design in year two and beyond.

Advisory board members include: Dr. Anita Randolph, Director of Community Engagement and Education, Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain; Arielle Handevidt, Director of Early Childhood, Northside Achievement Zone; Brandon Jones, Executive Director, Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health; Dianne Haulcy, Executive Leader of Family Engagement, Think Small’ Keith Kozerski, Chief Program Officer, Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis; Lauren Moberg, Infant and Early Childhood Director, Minnesota Association for Children's Mental Health; Lucy Arias, Preschool Development Grant Tribal National Lead, Minnesota Department of Education; Shea Roberts Gyllen, Educator, Parent, Reproductive Support, and Owner, Nisse Body and Birth; Thuba Nguyễn, Workforce Curriculum Coordinator, Child Care Aware of Minnesota;  and Tiffany Grant, Business Development Manager, First Children’s Finance.

Editor’s note: Insight Editor Al McFarlane is a member of the board of Greater Twin Cities United Way.

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