SOURCE: DIG Childhood Center

November 14, 2016 11:00 ET

Community Launches Plan to Save Non-Profit Childhood Program Following Closure of YWCA Westside/Santa Monica

DIG Childhood Center Initiates $150,000 Capital Campaign to Relocate and Preserve Groundbreaking Curriculum

Circle Talent Agency Jump Starts Fundraising with $25,000 Donation

SANTA MONICA, CA--(Marketwired - November 14, 2016) - DIG Childhood Center (formerly the YWCA Family Cooperative Preschool), announced plans today to relocate its groundbreaking early childhood programs following closure of the YWCA Westside/Santa Monica. The school is seeking $150,000 in donations to help save the program and move to a new location.

DIG has operated at the YWCA location on the corner of 14th and Pico for the past six years but is being forced to move once its current lease expires in December, after which the property is being sold. The YWCA shut down most of its other programs earlier this year.

DIG is the only school in Los Angeles that combines a non-judgmental approach with social and emotional development, a low teacher to student ratio (1:4), in a certified outdoor classroom. DIG also has one of the few active drop-off programs for toddlers that prepares little ones to transition and thrive in school.

"The data shows that much about our country's current educational model is failing. Young children are sitting more, pressured to learn more, have less time to play and exhibit more childhood anxiety than any other generation," said DIG Executive Director Nicki Backlar. "We need more progressive early childhood education that gives kids a chance to be outside, direct their own play and teaches them how to work through conflicts while being supported."

Backlar said that DIG's approach is working and is more vital than ever.

"At DIG, we are creating a world of self-reliant, empathetic, mindful, compassionate community builders -- young people instilled with non-violent conflict resolution skills, resilience, and freedom from shame," said Backlar.

Faced with the unexpected loss of its home and the need to quickly relocate, the community has banded together to save the school, formed a new non-profit organization with a volunteer Board of Directors, scouted potential sites and plotted a capital raising campaign to fund the transition.

After investing hundreds of hours searching for a new location, the DIG board recently found a site that meets licensing requirements and secured a lease. The school has launched a $150,000 capital campaign to raise the funds needed to bring the new space up to compliance, preserve DIG's ground-breaking curriculum, and recreate the school's well-known outdoor classroom.

The capital campaign recently received an incredible jump start in the form of a $25,000 donation by the Circle Talent Agency and the Gordon Family. Co-Owners of Circle Talent Agency, Kevin Gimble and Steve Gordon, assembled a group of talented artists that put on a benefit concert to raise money for the school.

"DIG is a unique school that has given so much to our family and to the community," said Gordon, whose son attended DIG. "It was inspiring to see the response from artists and fans alike who recognize the value of DIG's approach and the importance of better preparing our kids today so they can make positive contributions to society as adults."

Gordon said he hopes the donation will inspire others to give as well.

Consistent with the approach DIG has created over the past several years, full- and part-time teachers receiving competitive benefits and salaries, and a cooperative model that reflects reasonable time commitments from families in various ways, the school will continue the cooperative spirit and provide caring, respectful, and enriching support to children and families.

All funds from the campaign will be used to create the new school and will not be used for operating costs. In the event that the school fails to reach its goal or does not move to a new location, all donations will be returned to their donors.

For more information or to make a donation to DIG, please visit http://www.digcenter.org/capitalcampaign

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