$1,000 – Education Foundation of Teton Valley
The 2022 Youth Philanthropy students were honored to fully fund a grant of $1,000 to the Education Foundation of Teton Valley for the purpose of supporting Opening Doors/Abriendo Puertas – a national parenting program designed to honor and support parents as their child’s first teacher.
The Youth Philanthropists recognized the Education Foundation’s concern that low-income parents do not always have the tools to support and assist their children as they start their school-based education. The Education Foundation of Teton Valley shared that the National Association of the Education of Young Children, a leader in early childhood education, notes that “as their children’s first teachers, parents have an amazing opportunity to nurture their children’s growth and development and to advocate for their education.” They also note that “families with limited resources may experience even greater isolation from their children’s education community. Many have negative school experiences themselves, which may make them apprehensive about coming to the school or interacting with teachers. Parent engagement in the earliest years of a child’s life is one of the most powerful predictors of a child’s development and creates a foundation children need to be successful in school and in life. It is particularly important for children in low-income families.
Locally, 25% of students qualified for free and reduced lunch in Teton School District, which is a national indicator for living on or below the poverty line. Research has shown that poverty can negatively impact a student’s health and safety. This increased pressure negatively impacts a student’s ability to succeed in school. Caregivers living in poverty often work multiple jobs or long hours and do not have the capacity or ability to support their child with developmental milestones in reading or math.
Last year, the Education Foundation ran the Opening Doors/Abriendo Puertas Program and had 45 families participate with great success. At the start of each session parents take a survey that gauges their knowledge in topics. The average score was 0. At the end of the ten weeks parents take the survey again and parents scored an average of 80-100% on all questions, with the highest knowledge growth in confidence and advocacy for their children. The Education Foundation of Teton Valley seeks to replicate the program this year and assist 45 additional families.
The Youth Philanthropists recognized that funding for the Opening Doors/Abriendo Puertas Program would serve a critical educational need in their community and, given Education Foundation’s track record of success last year, they were motivated to support the program for 2022-23.