12/17/2012 - Napa Valley, CA: In keeping with the spirit of giving this holiday season, the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) today announced its investment of $1.275 million in community services to help Napa County children--from preschool to college--succeed in school and beyond. This is the third category of giving announced from the proceeds of the 2012 Auction Napa Valley fundraiser, and is part of its $7 million commitment to two strategic priorities: community health and children's education.
Research shows that it is far more effective--in terms of outcomes, cost and benefit to the community--to ensure that children are prepared for entering school and have access to constructive after-school and mentoring programs to keep them in school, than it is to intervene after issues have arisen.
In Napa County, one of every five youth is considered to be socioeconomically disadvantaged, and research shows that youth from low-income communities are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to life success: economic self-sufficiency, full civic participation, and becoming leaders.
"Skills for success--in school and life--are accumulated over time and built on each other, and we want to ensure that all children, from toddlers to young adults, have the opportunities at each age to develop those skills," said NVV executive director Linda Reiff. "The NVV is investing in local programs that prepare students for entering school, empower parents to be involved in their children's education, help students develop critical thinking skills, and guide them in learning how to make good decisions as they grow."
Eight organizations received funding to expand their programs and outreach: Boys and Girls Clubs of Napa Valley in Napa and American Canyon; Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Helena and Calistoga; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Summer Search; On the Move; NapaLearns; Child Start Inc.; and Napa Valley Adult Education's First Step.
SCHOOL READINESS: EARLY SOCIAL SKILLS = SUCCESS IN SCHOOL AND BEYOND
Success in school--and beyond--relies on more than knowledge. It requires motivation, sociability, self regulation and esteem, and the ability to work with others, among other things. Research shows that these basic skills form in the child's first few years, and that children living in poverty--with little or no access to preschool or in-home learning opportunities before they enter school--are at higher risk of entering school behind their peers in these skills.
"Kindergarten teachers will tell you that while it's great to have children start school knowing their letters, shapes and colors, it's critically important for them to come with the skills for learning those things," says Debbie Peralez executive director of Child Start, Inc. "Without good self-regulation habits or social skills, their ability to learn is limited, which can cause them to lag behind throughout their school years. But the good news is that working with these children and their parents on developing these skills before the children enter school can make all the difference."
Overall, early education can:
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