According to First3Years Marketing and Communications Director Natalie Fellows,
In 2018, First3Years raised more than $12,000 on North Texas Giving Day! These funds were crucial to providing critical support to very young children in North Texas.
First3years’ mission is to educate, advocate, and collaborate to advance the healthy development of infants, toddlers, and their families. Our programs increase awareness of the critical importance of the first three years of life; support conditions that enhance the quality of infant and toddler/caregiver relationships; advocate for policies and practices that support the healthy development of young children; and educate the birth-to-three workforce in best practices.
First3Years is the only organization in Texas working across sectors to improve the quality of care for infants, toddlers, and their families through professional development, parental support, and collaborative efforts to initiate change at the systemic level.
By the time a child turns three, 85% of their brain development has occurred. During these first 3 years of life, the brain undergoes dramatic development as it builds the circuits and processes that become the foundation for all other learning. The everyday experiences that infants and toddlers have with their parents and caregivers help shape how their brains become hardwired to learn and interact with the world around them. These experiences impact a child’s ability to reach 3rd grade reading levels, graduate from high school, avoid incarceration, and hold employment as an adult. Parents, caregivers, and professionals must have access to current research about infant and toddler development to help children reach their greatest potential as adults.
First3Years’ programs range from training for professionals to promote early health and development to ground-breaking programs that are the first of their kind in the state and seek to support infants and toddlers across the socio-economic spectrum.
In 2018 alone, programming reached more than 2,570 professionals that participated in nearly 12,500 hours of early childhood training. We introduced Baby Day (the first celebration in the country to highlight the crucial first three years of life) where nearly 1,500 adults and children participated across 5 sites in Texas.
We also provided critical services to babies in foster care resulting in an increase in reunification, decrease reentrance into the system (recidivism), and an increase in positive health outcomes.
With increased understanding of the need for information on infant and toddler development and a gap in state policies to require more rigorous training and licensing, the demand for First3Years’ programs has steadily increased. First3Years plays an important role in advancing public and professional awareness about infant/toddler development; now we are poised to take our organization to the next level to make a significantly larger impact. The support received on North Texas Giving Day, allows for First3Years to continue to implement key programming that impacts the North Texas community of infants, toddlers and their families. We’re thankful for supporters who enable us to continue our work in helping infants, toddlers, and their families to thrive. Together, we can make a substantial difference in the lives of families across Texas.
* Graphic/photo provided by First3Years
In ten years, Communities Foundation of Texas’ North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $240 million into the North Texas community. In 2018, more than $48 million was raised through more than 157,000 gifts benefiting over 2,700 area nonprofits.