All of our Stepping Stone moms have begun online classes and work at their own pace. Each Friday, they meet together in the adult education room just one building away from where their children attend Stepping Stone’s LEAF preschool. Currently, Neida, one of the Stepping Stone office interns meets with them there to help them with any technical issues and provide content support as they work through their assignments.
We originally had four mothers participate, but one has moved to Mexico. Sadly, it was the one whose story I shared in my blog post. Interestingly she is a US citizen, but her husband is not, so she has rejoined him in the Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) area. The remaining moms’ ages range from 24-48.
Up Close and Personal
The mom who is 48 said all her older children are enrolled in college, but she had never finished her own education. All her extended family that live here (all her children, her husband and brothers and sisters) have their permanent residence status or are US Citizens, but she has not. Her children used to ask her when she was going back to get her GED–one step in applying for permanent residency. Now that she’s doing it, they are so proud of her!
This fall, A Stepping Stone Foundation had a bit of a hiccup for three mothers whose families had enrolled in our LEAF (Literacy Elevates Arizona Families) program located at the Bret Tarver Isaac Preschool teaching site in Phoenix. This program, as many readers will remember, is a five-point family literacy program which consists of preschool, adult literacy, parenting classes, inter-generational learning activities and home visiting. The hiccup occurred for these three mothers when the school district couldn’t find HSE (High School Equivalency) preparation classes for them.
Typically, the school district provides the courses onsite, but when all district avenues had been exhausted and we were informed they could not do so, two long-time Stepping Stone donors stepped in to pay the costs of GED online learning through Rio Salado Community College. The following report is the first of many about which I intend to blog.
I spent three mornings helping the moms enroll online. They obtained a Maricopa Community Colleges ID and password and I will accompanied them so they ccould present their picture ID’s in person at Rio Salado College in Tempe and then enrolled in the 14 online week class. Each mom must spend at least 4 hours on Friday mornings working on this coursework and have the option to work at home as well.
There was a bit a of a challenge getting connectivity (access to the internet). While all moms have at least a cell phone and/or an I-pad or similar, getting a reliable internet connection was challenging. In the end, we prevailed and they began classes on Monday, October 16th.
Up Close and Personal:
One mother in particular shared her story about how it is she came to have four children at a young age. She was raped as a sophomore in high school and then dropped out from the stigma. Today, the father of her children is a Mexican citizen and lives on the other side of the border and she sees him only rarely.
Her career goal is to become a doctor because she loves all things connected to the brain and brain development. She knows this will take many years, but remembers being very good in school and believes she can do it. The first step is to get her GED. She shared how passionate she was about learning everything she can. I shared with her that the road to be a physician can begin with a medical certificate in in something like hematology or becoming an registered nurse first.
Enjoy these pictures of our preschoolers, parents and teachers. As they celebrated their outstanding accomplishments for this school year !! Included in the pictures are Ms. Jenny’s and Ms. Janet’s classrooms.
Is preschool really important? Read this article from Rasmussen University: Is Preschool Important?
Spoiler alert! YES ITS REALLY IMPORTANT!
A Stepping Stone four-year-old left to his own devices.
We would like to congratulate all 39 scholars for their Billie Gannaway Award. Also, a special thank you to the 16 students that were able to attend the award ceremony that took place Tuesday, April 25th. It really means so much for Stepping Stone because it gives us the ability to see students grow.
Check out this story about the importance of early childhood education written by Claudio Sanchez and posted on NPR : http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/05/03/524907739/pre-k-decades-worth-of-studies-one-strong-message
Pictured here is one of our many parents working with their child in A Stepping Stone Foundation LEAF program on literacy activities–in an age-appropriate way! A Stepping Stone Foundation has been providing the kind of programs described in the NPR article for the past 27 years.
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King, Jr
One of the most rewarding experiences as a member of society is the opportunity to make a positive impact on those within our community. Seeing the fruit of how one’s time and donations play an instrumental role in the success of our children as they join our educational system is priceless. Furthermore, A Stepping Stone Foundation takes it a step further than all other organizations within our community. In conjunction with the kids going through the program, the parents are supported and provided with the awareness of how they too have to lead by example and achieve their GED. Nelson Mandela states how “Education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world” and our teachers, children, parents and board members advocate this consistently proving this model to be extremely successful since 1989.
In 2016, I was honored to attend and volunteer for the 9th Annual Cena & Serenata Event that was held on April 2nd at the Heard Museum. The board members and the planning committee organized this annual gala with the sole purpose of raising awareness around A Stepping Stone’s mission and values. There was a wide range of Sponsors, Donors, and Volunteers at the event celebrating culture, family and unity. In addition to having Dr. David Garcia as our MC, the evening was filled with performances from Al Jauregui Mariachi, Glendale Ballet Fóklorico, Str8up Band, and Gustavo Angeles. There was also a great Silent Auction and Wine Pull from donors to help raise further funds for our Children and Families. The Annual Event helped raise $45,000 of funding for our Children’s Programs!
How impactful are these donations for our students and parents? See below:
- $8 equals one hour of quality preschool or Adult/Parenting Education per Individual
- $30 provides a typical day for one of our families (4 hours)
- $100 provides a whole week of preschool education to a child in need.
- $250 provides a whole family with preschool for their child, younger sibling childcare & Adult Parenting Education for two weeks!
Through the event Cena & Serenata, A Stepping Stone foundation has been able to unify a community of advocates for high quality education, equality for all, and giving back to those who are in need. We invite you to either donate or attend the event by purchasing a ticket for our 10th annual event being held on March 25th! As part of our dream, we aspire to all be a community of one – Join us in our efforts today! http://www.asteppingstone.org/donate.html
Jessica M. Sanchez
We’d like to make you aware of changes to the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit which could help you further reduce your state tax liability and help our children and families at the same time. This tax credit called Arizona’s Tax Credit for Qualifying Charitable Organizations and is still available. This is an ADDITIONAL tax credit –one you can take even though you may have already donated to the Public and/or Private school tax credits.
In fact, the maximum amounts have DOUBLED and the deadline was extended!
The maximum credit is now $400 for single taxpayers and $800 for married taxpayers filing jointly. As of the writing of this letter, this donation can also be listed as a Federal Tax deduction if you itemize on your IRS return. $800 provides 20 children with a full day of preschool.
Please help us reach our goal of $60,000 by December 31, 2016 by donating now to a Stepping Stone Foundation, which is a Qualifying Charitable Organization (you will find us on the official State of Arizona list in the ‘S’s). If you have already donated, THANK YOU, and please forward this to a friend who may be able to take advantage of this opportunity to save on your Arizona state taxes and help local families, too. AND THANKS TO AN ANONYMOUS DONOR, YOUR GIFT WILL BE DOUBLED UP TO THE FIRST $10,000!!
You can donate on our website at: www.asteppingstone.org/donate or make checks payable to A Stepping Stone Foundation and mail (must be postmarked by March 31, 2017) to:
A Stepping Stone Foundation
PO Box 87149
Phoenix, AZ 85080-7149
This tax credit allows for donations made to qualifying organizations to be refunded to the taxpayer not as a deduction but as a dollar-for-dollar tax credit! For any and all tax advice, please consult with your tax professional.
More details can be found on the Arizona Department of Revenue website at: https://www.azdor.gov/TaxCredits/QualifyingCharitableOrganizations.aspx
Please find below a link to yet another study validating what a great investment high quality early childhood is—especially when the parents are involved! The programs studied/talked about in the links below begin their first contact with families when the child is still an infant and stress the quality of child-caregiver interaction. I’ll be looking at the cost effectiveness of this program related to our current two-year LEAF program we run at Alhambra and Isaac School Districts in Phoenix.
New Early Ed Article
From this article:
Asked to define quality child care, Heckman said the key was not whether caregivers held college degrees but whether they were trained to engage with the children and their parents. “Parents are the key,” he said. “These programs teach parents about giving individual attention to the child; they teach the parent the value of one-to-one interaction.”
Find the Source Paper at:
If you haven’t made your tax credit donation yet this year, here is a link:
Don’t forget to tell your friends! The credit has DOUBLED AND we have a match donor up to $10,000!