Smart Beginnings Eastern Shore has been awarded a $7,100 grant from the PNC Foundation to promote the well-being of young children on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
Smart Beginnings Eastern Shore will use the funds to sponsor two initiatives, Everyday Fun with Reading Workshops for families of pre-school-age children and the second annual Kids Count on the Eastern Shore Forum.
Linda Schulz, Chair of Smart Beginnings Eastern Shore said, “I am delighted with the ongoing financial support of PNC for these two important programs that promote the welfare of the children of the Eastern Shore and their families. PNC’s corporate giving through the Grow Up Great initiative is a model for corporations that want to give back to the community in a thoughtful and targeted way.”
The grant from the PNC Foundation will allow Smart Beginnings Eastern Shore to provide free workshops for 200 pre-school age children and their parents over the coming twelve months. The goal of Everyday Fun with Reading is to significantly increase the use of books in the home and help parents learn ways to provide an enriched language environment through reading to their age two- to five-year-old children.
Staff from the Accomack and Northampton Public Schools and the community facilitate the workshops, which are held at public schools and other locations on the Shore. The workshops are free to all families attending. Families will take home free children’s reading books from each workshop. The schedule for the Accomack workshops will be announced later this Fall. The Northampton Workshops take place during the summer of 2018. This is the third year that PNC has supported this program.
The PNC grant will also be used to underwrite for the second year the Kids Count Forum-Strengthening Children’s Well Being on the Eastern Shore that will be held in the spring of 2018. This event will build on the highly successful Kids Count Forum that took place in the spring of 2017. With the earlier Forum as a springboard, and using an interactive, participatory process, the 2018 Kids Count Forum will bring together local leaders, stakeholders, and the general public to identify community strengths and generate strategies for improving the outlook for children from birth to age 18 on the Eastern Shore.
Roberta Newman, Smart Beginnings Eastern Shore Consulting Coordinator said, “PNC’s support of these two programs help us to work toward meeting two of our most important goals — parent engagement in promoting their children’s early literacy and school readiness and public awareness of the needs of children on the Shore through community collaborations designed to meet those needs”
Wendy Lilliston, Branch Manager of the Eastville and Onley Branches of PNC Bank, stated, “PNC is happy to support these wonderful programs that promote early literacy and well-being for all children on the Eastern Shore. The two projects are in alignment with the goals of the PNC Foundation’s Grow Up Great Initiative.”
The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (www.pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $350 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.
Smart Beginnings Eastern Shore, founded in 2011, is a coalition of 40 agencies, organizations, businesses, and concerned individuals who share the principle that quality early childhood programs can reduce the effects of poverty so prevalent among children on the Eastern Shore. The organization’s mission is to promote school readiness and well-being for all children from birth to age five on the Shore. Smart Beginnings Eastern Shore is affiliated as a community partner with the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation/Smart Beginnings statewide network. The organization accomplishes its mission through programs targeted at promoting early school readiness and family literacy, health and wellness, parent engagement, improving the quality of childcare and preschool programs and increasing community awareness of the importance of the early childhood years. Smart Beginnings Eastern Shore welcomes donations from the public in support of its early childhood initiatives. Contributions can be made at the website of its fiscal sponsor, Northampton County Education Foundation, ncedufoundation.com.