Success By 6

Success By 6

April 04, 2006 12:00 ET

Success By 6: Editorial/Opinion-A Strong Community Stands Behind its Children

LOWER MAINLAND, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - April 4, 2006) - A child's first six years are critical. The foundation for physical, social and emotional development starts early, long before most children step into a classroom.

But, did you know that 25 per cent of B.C. children are not ready to succeed in school by age 6?

Research shows that the brain of a young child grows more rapidly than at any other stage in life. The experiences from birth through age six have a profound and lifelong impact. Children that have a good start in life, as they advance into their teenage years, are far less likely to have behavioral problems, drop out of school or become involved in substance abuse or crime.

The Lower Mainland is home to approximately 128,000 children under six years old. Families of young children face many challenging issues: financial pressures, both parents in the workforce, finding quality care, and cultural barriers.

But our children are not alone. There's a community behind them to provide the support they need to succeed, in school and in life.

Through Success By 6, a joint initiative of United Ways, Credit Unions, the provincial government through the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and community leaders - the community is saying yes to our children's success in very tangible ways.

Success By 6 ensures there are resources available to empower families to give children the nurturing and care they need. These programs and services include literacy, family skills development, parenting support, and nutrition.

Resources and supports need to be consistently available across the Lower Mainland, because vulnerable children come from all walks of life.

With the help of provincial partners, United Way of the Lower Mainland invested approximately $1.1 million in 2005 to help children 0 to 6 and their families through 55 Success By 6 projects.

Twenty three Lower Mainland agencies recently received $800,000 to expand access to early childhood services and deliver quality, coordinated services.

The new funding is allocated through Success By 6 Lower Mainland and represents the first installment of a three-year commitment to support local early childhood development communities in their efforts to reduce barriers to services.

Prevention and early intervention drives the Success By 6 investment decision-making process. By approaching community investment this way, we know that we are contributing to long-term change and positive outcomes for our children.

Guided by groundbreaking research and community input, we are focusing extra attention and resources where they are needed. United Way of the Lower Mainland is helping to fund research on children 0 to 6 through the UBC-based Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP). The research has resulted in the development of a tool for improving the well-being of children.

Census data and teacher evaluations of 44,000 children at virtually every public kindergarten class in B.C. informs HELP's B.C. Atlas of Child Development. The atlas explores how different environments create different developmental outcomes for children. For example, Lower Mainland communities - Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster - are among the 10 geographical areas found to have the most vulnerable children. Vulnerability was assessed and rated according to school readiness in terms of physical health, well-being, social competence, emotional maturity, language, cognitive development, communication and general knowledge.

Success By 6 partners are committed to significantly reducing the number of vulnerable children in the Lower Mainland.

Monday, April 10 marks the launch of the Success By 6 Spring Campaign (April 10 to May 7) to raise awareness and much-needed funds to help early childhood programs throughout the Lower Mainland.

We all can create hope for a better tomorrow, right where we live by making a donation today, at a local credit union, or online at Successby6bc.ca.

Michael McKnight, President & Chief Executive Officer, United Way of the Lower Mainland


Contact Information

  • United Way of the Lower Mainland Media Relations
    Michael Becker
    (604) 268-1333
    www.successby6bc.ca