Millage Recipient Profile - Bethany Christian Services

First Steps Kent welcomes Bethany Christian Services to the Ready by Five Provider Network. Bethany receives millage funding for two of its services.

Bethany is an international Christian nonprofit that is changing the world through family. Bethany partners with churches and communities in more than 30 states and nearly a dozen countries, impacting hundreds of thousands of lives each year. Bethany provides world-class social services aimed at strengthening and preserving families, finding new families for children who need them, and supporting refugees and immigrants who have fled danger.

Funds from the millage support Bethany’s Hands Connected Provider Network. This is an innovative program which trains qualified refugee men and women to become home-based or center-based child care providers. This program offers individualized training, home and business setup, and licensing assistance to begin operations, as well as curriculum and language development. Millage funding will help Bethany assist parents with children under five access early childhood resources including connecting them to a local refugee navigator who can assist them with culturally and linguistically appropriate services and resources.

Nan Sai has benefitted from the Hands Connected Provider Network. Nan Sai resettled in Grand Rapids in 2010 after fleeing Myanmar (Burma) with her family. She used the resources and training from the Hands Connected Provider Network to open her own, in-home child care business in 2016. Most recently, Nan was able to fill a critical gap for essential workers in need of child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. She was able to access personal protective equipment and other safety resources through the support of Bethany and local organizations. The funds from the millage will give providers like Nan additional support and will be a resource to parents of all backgrounds to access services for healthy child development.

Bethany will also use millage funds to provide translation and interpretation services for all early childhood programs that receive funding through the Ready by Five millage.

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