Our role is to support an integrated system that ensures children have the opportunity to be successful learners in the 21st century.
To promote a child-centered school readiness system that fosters early learning, facilitates healthy child development, and promotes family success in Grand County.
87% of Grand Beginnings funding was used to provide programs to Grand County children, their families, and the professionals who serve them.
This year, Grand Beginnings was able to offer classes that focused on preparing children for kindergarten. These classes provided free materials and information to parents and caregivers of children ages 0-5.
The organization is currently making efforts to streamline all scholarship funding for early education scholarships. This community-wide effort would need $75,000 to assure that children have access to high-quality, licensed care.
Our current needs are:
1. Early education tuition funding
2. Parenting education funding, especially for classes that focus on school readiness
3. Volunteer facilitators for parenting classes
4. Funding for child care resource and referral services
5. Additional volunteers to help with event planning and marketing
Grand Beginnings is a 501(c) 3 organization dedicated to serving the children, families, and early childhood professionals of Grand County, Colorado. Grand County is a geographically large and very rural county in the rural resort region with six incorporated towns strung along highway 40. With an estimated 850 children under the age of six, 12 licensed child care centers, and 47% of children under six living below 200% of the federal poverty level (Kids County Data 2014), it is a small town community with unique challenges.
In 1998, a group of concerned parents came together to discuss and address the unique challenges facing families with young children and child care providers in Grand County. At its official inception in March 2000, a Board of Directors was formed and bylaws were adopted. Grand Beginnings became a non-profit organization with 501(c) 3 status in 2003. In 2007, GB formed a partnership with Early Childhood Options in Summit County, Colorado to form the Rural Resort Region-North East (RRRNE) Early Childhood Council, which is one of thirty Councils in Colorado. As an Early Childhood Council and Child Care Resource and Referral, Grand Beginnings works to strengthen the comprehensive early childhood system within Grand County across the four domains of early learning, parent support, social emotional development and health.
Grand Beginnings is a grassroots organization that was founded by families and early childhood professionals to meet the unique needs of young children in our rural and resort communities. Since our inception in 2003 we have stayed true to that grassroots spirit with programs that have evolved to meet the needs of our community. We also serve as the community's early childhood council and child care resource and referral agency. As part of Colorado's 31 early childhood councils we are able to bring our rural voice to the state level, ensuring that our children, families, and professionals have what they need to be valued, healthy, and thriving. We fully embrace the Early Childhood Colorado Framework and align our work to ensure that there is access, quality, and equity in the three domains of family support and education, health and well-being, and learning and development. We are proud of our community's desire to support young children and their families. This desire is evidenced by the nearly 100% of early care and education professionals in the community enrolled in the state-wide Professional Development Information System and over 70% of early care and education programs participating in the quality rating and improvement system, Colorado Shines, at a level 2 or higher. Further evidence of the community's commitment to young children is seen in our unique cross-sector collaboration, the Meeting Milestones Initiative, which promotes universal developmental screening and has accomplished a public/private partnership to ensure all children receive developmental screening at well-child visits or in their early care setting. Grand Beginnings is committed to our mission will continue to work to ensure that every young child in our community has what they need to succeed in life.
Living and working in one of the greatest playgrounds on earth can be tough for families with young children. With a high cost of living, relatively low median wages, and a lack of options, accessing every day services like child care or health care can be challenging. I am proud to be a part of Grand Beginnings and the work we accomplish on behalf of our community! Grand Beginnings seeks to be resourceful, responsible, and transparent with financial resources. Grand Beginnings work is made possible by the support of diverse public and private funding streams, including government grants, government contracts, and foundation grants. We work hard to ensure that resources are invested wisely in alignment with our mission and strategic plan. Early childhood services face an uphill battle in terms of funding and resources. There is never enough to meet the need but we always find a way to make it work.
"Grand Beginnings has been a TREMENDOUS source of support and advocacy for early childhood professionals in Grand County. Given the limited opportunities in our wonderful- but rural- community, I struggled to find the financial resources needed to take continuing education courses to satisfy both my career knowledge base and professional aspirations. Grand Beginnings provided me with a scholarship to cover half of the cost of tuition for my ECE 240 (The Exceptional Child) class when I worked as a Preschool Teacher and had a desire to learn more about children with developmental delays and how I could best meet their needs in a mainstream classroom. Grand Beginnings again provided a 50% scholarship for my online courses when I worked to obtain my large center director certification. Through their funding, they have helped make my professional goals attainable!
I am now working as the director of a center, and my staff rely on their scholarship funding and professional development opportunities to further their scope in Early Childhood. Hosting training locally is an INVALUABLE way to promote buy-in, help each staff take charge of their career, and empower them to offer improved methods for learning in the classroom. Upward mobility in this limited field isn't always possible, but Grand Beginnings helps to provide the training and financial resources to impact anyone with a passion for early childhood education. " - January Clark. Executive Director, Fraser Creative Learning Center