STARS 2.0: Still Seeing STARS
Last week, we heard of the new $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, President Biden’s massive relief and stimulus bill that aims to support economic recovery for the millions of American families and businesses who lost income due to the pandemic. Those that stand to benefit include an often-ignored group: children in low-income families. The stimulus bill restructures the existing federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) by offering direct payments to qualifying families, effectively doubling the size of the existing credit and providing an extra $125 billion. The funds can be used to support a wide range of issues affecting children’s ability to thrive, such as food insecurity, stable housing, and the need for high-quality child care.
This is welcome news for families – and a child care sector already operating on a shoestring. The 24 child care centers that we have supported through our two-year initiative known as STARS: Supporting Teachers & Ready Students have almost all remained open and steadfast in serving the most essential workers in Akron with quality child care. And as we approach the summer, their services will become even more important for many families that will seek to return to work or increase their work hours.
STARS aims to provide preschool teacher support from our partner the Early Childhood Resource Center with training in subjects such as early literacy and brain development, curriculum and assessment, and help in providing books and materials that child care centers use with their children.
GAR Foundation has just announced our continuation of this program for another two years, and will add eight new centers for a total of 30 participating centers! We are very excited to support these centers who represent more than 330 teachers caring for more than 1080 young Akron learners.
Our investment in these teachers is an investment in our community’s future. Our youngest learners represent our future and every moment spent with them by every caring adult is another bright light for our community’s future.