Sandra Redmore is the executive director of Clarendon Child Care Center at 1305 N. Jackson Street in Arlington, a local childcare facility. She works with the Virginia Cooperative Preschool Council and the Arlington County Child Care Initiative working group. In 2019, she was awarded the Woman of Vision award by the Arlington Commission for the Status of Women.
She also cannot afford childcare for her own family.
Redmore’s story was one of a dozen similar stories of devotion to an early education field that many said is woefully underfunded despite high need. During a round table discussion today (Friday) at the Campagna Center (418 S Washington Street) with Senator Mark Warner (D) and Campagna Center CEO Tammy Mann, regional educators shared stories illustrating that they and many of their peers are at a breaking point.
There’s a growing acceptance that early childhood education can have a long-term benefit to mental development. Nicole Lazarte, infant lead teacher at the ACCA Child Development Center, said that at birth the brain is 20% developed and neglecting early childhood education misses critical parts of foundation building.
That recognition hasn’t been followed with federal financial support that Lazarte and others at the table said is critical for the field to continue operating effectively after the pandemic pushed new costs onto many already strained education centers.
“At 24 I don’t own a car, I don’t have my own home, and I’m already looking for ways out of this field,” Lazarte said. “I want to stay with the field, but I can’t continue like this. It’s so disheartening.”
Lazarte said teachers she knows are leaving early childhood development left and right, many of them taking jobs in K-12 public schools that are seen as a safer, more economically stable route.
“Our sector was on life support even before the pandemic,” Mann said.
During the discussion with educators, Warner said he recognized their concerns, but said for many in congress the emphasis for infrastructure is limited to roads.
“Republicans are [fund] to do roads and bridges, but it’s hard to get them to care about childcare,” Warner said.
Warner said infrastructure — as part of the necessary investment to return to something resembling a pre-pandemic workforce — requires workers to have options for childcare.
“I’ve been telling my colleagues: don’t just honor childcare workers, put your money where your mouth is,” Warner said.
But on the flip side, Warner also encouraged education advocates to not just seek funding at a federal level, but to press their state and local representatives. Warner said much of the federal resources have been allocated to state and local levels, and with that funding allocation being determined now, Warner said advocates should be working on their “ask” for the state and local legislators.
While Warner said he recognized many concerns about long-term funding for childcare facilities, he also encouraged them to take advantage of shorter-term grants and funding in the 2021-2022 budgets. From there, Warner said educators could use the short-term funding as a food in the door.
“I hear you that longtime funding is more important, but please don’t miss this short window,” Warner said. “Go to your cities and counties.”
Meanwhile, in Alexandria, Mann said the Campagna Center is preparing to move into its summer programming.
“We’re working hard and moving into summer and into our in-person opportunities,” Mann said. “We’re extending our school year program into summer for four year olds.”
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Alexandria Women for Good donated $6,720 to Alexandria’s Community Lodgings from their first donation cycle! They toured one of the learning centers, met some of the staff and kids, and handed over a big check.
Alexandria Women for Good is a newly formed local Grapevine Giving Circle composed of local Alexandria women who make the commitment to give back to the local community regularly and intentionally. Each quarter they raise money to give to local nonprofits making a difference.
For more information visit: https://www.grapevine.org/giving- circle/3y6h4Ay/Alexandria-Women-for-Good
Pictured left to right: Laura Herron, Laura Turner, Kate Wiley from Community Lodgings, and Laura Bloodgood
Hi, my name is Moneim Z., and I am a blind male with chronic kidney disease, who needs a living kidney donor for a transplant. My blood type is B+, and I can accept a kidney from individuals who have blood types B and O.
To read my story, please see the attached letter.
To contact me directly, please email me at [email protected] or call at 571-428-5065. My living donor coordinator at INOVA Hospital, Amileen Cruz can be reached at (703) 776-8370 , or via email at [email protected]
Del Ray Dog Fest & Yappy Hour
The 1st Annual Del Ray Dog Fest is a fun outdoor event that will include dog-centered activities, dog menu items, live music, vendors and food on Sunday, April 2 from 11am- 3pm at the George Washington Middle School parking lot.
SONOVA presents: Scheherezade and Gala
The Symphony Orchestra of Northern Virginia presents their Anniversary Gala Celebration and Concert on Saturday, March 18, 2023 at 6:30pm at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.
The gala (including light refreshments and a silent auction) will begin at 6:30pm at the