The last year has been full of challenges we had not imagined, and for far too many, heartbreak and loss. But it also has been a year of opportunity. An opportunity to see things in a different light and from a different perspective. An opportunity to confront the racial injustices that have been a part of our systems for hundreds of years. An opportunity to celebrate the strength and resilience of families. An opportunity to recognize the dedication and innovation of providers who serve and support young children. An opportunity to say “thank you” to the people of Kent County who recognize by investing in babies and toddlers we are investing in our future.
Within Kent County, the usage of data will foster an early childhood network that learns from and makes data-informed decisions. First Steps Kent's collective work ultimately seeks to impact three key indicators to ensure every child in Kent County is healthy and ready for kindergarten. These contributing indicators will provide additional depth, vision, and alignment with initiatives occurring in Michigan and across the county.
Families’ lives changed overnight when the COVID-19 crisis brought Michigan to a halt back in March. Suddenly, schools and preschools were closed. Many parents started working from home. Longstanding disparities were fully exposed. First Steps Kent and our partners reacted quickly, rethinking how we work, reimagining how we could help meet the needs of families across our community.
3,039 children served
19,717 items distributed
Our COVID-19 Response
A Time to Listen to Parents and Providers
Services funded by the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage were just ramping up when the COVID-19 crisis hit Michigan. The statewide “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order came less than two months after 16 community-based organizations were awarded $7.6 million in millage funding to provide new or expanded services to families with young children.
Kent County families have spent much of 2020 changing their course of action amid new uncertainties and realities. The stress is not only connected to a global pandemic, but also brought on by acts of hatred, racism, and political unrest that is being felt both nationally and locally.
Total Revenue, Support and Net Assets = $1,557,034
Total Expenses = $1,389,520
Financials represent the 2018/2019 fiscal year for First Steps Kent. View the details in the Impact Report
First Steps Kent has a lot to be grateful for. We want to say thank you. Thank you to the child care and Ready by Five providers who have stepped up and done their best to support our families. Thank you to families who have hung in there and done their best to support their child's development during this past year. Thank you to the community for supporting the providers, families, and one another in such meaningful ways. Thank you to our funders for being very thoughtful, flexible, and equitable during this unprecedented time for young children and families in Kent County.