From birth to five years of age, kids form more than one million neural connections every second. Yep, you read that right. One million every second. These years are the most impressionable moments of their lives, laying the critical foundation for bright minds, strong bodies, and happy kids.
But there’s a challenge.
- 25% of young kids in Arizona live in poverty, creating difficult obstacles for appropriate child development (First Things First 2020 Annual Report)
- 62% of 3 & 4 year olds in Arizona do not attend preschool, potentially reducing their readiness for kindergarten (First Things First 2019 Building Bright Futures Report)
- 54% of Arizona third graders cannot read proficiently, an indicator linked to early childhood experiences (First Things First 2019 N&A Report)
That’s where Candelen steps in.
Four years after the Equal Opportunity Act was passed, Candelen was born in order to help working Arizona mothers find child care. In these past 40+ years, Candelen has worked within communities, including Flagstaff, to develop and deliver research-based initiatives that foster enriching experiences for children to become their most brilliant selves. Through expert-led, interactive child development, nutrition, and health & safety programs that empower parents, caregivers, and early childhood educators, Candelen is making a lasting impact on the lives of Arizona’s children.
Within these programs, there is a spotlight on informal care, often unpaid, that is frequently done as a favor. This type of child care – family, friend, and neighbor (FFN) care – is the largest form of child care in the United States. Oftentimes, families use this type of care (mostly during the infancy stage) because they want their babies nurtured, held, and loved so that the foundation of future success is laid out firmly. However, many families are forced to choose this care because they have few other choices: cost of formal child care, schedules, patchwork care, etc. Whatever the reason kids find themselves in FFN care, Candelen does their part to ensure that all kids – no matter the zip code, income level, location of care, or type of provider – can have a bright start.
How can you help? Early education is not an expense… it’s a sound investment. For every $1 put toward early childhood, there is a $16 return to the community. Visit candelen.org/flagstaff-moms to make a direct impact that helps invest in the future and community through higher rates of education completion, higher incomes to support kids’ families, and lower crime rates.