At the risk of being redundant, I can’t let the events of last week go without additional
comment on how important each was for the future of Danville and Boyle County.
Most recently, representatives of the Danville-Boyle County Early Childhood Alliance
(DBECA) presented findings from its white paper on pre-school child care to the board of
the Economic Development Partnership (Develop Danville). The discussion recounted
statistics that have been cited here previously, including the fact that more than half of all
Boyle County children are not kindergarten ready when they enter school.
Why is that important to an economic development group? Because the generation of
workers new companies need tomorrow are the children in pre-school today. Workforce
development and career readiness are inextricably connected to a child’s ability to
learn—hard skills and soft skills.
Following the presentation, the Discover Danville board voted to sign on to a growing list of
individuals and organizations supporting the recommendations from the Alliance, which
distilled to a couple of key points are increasing capacity and quality. Those who have
signed on thus far include:
Andrea Craft, Danville Schools
Danville Schools Education Foundation and Alumni Association
Patten Priestley Mahler
The Reverend Amy Dafler Meaux
Trinity Episcopal Church
Mary Beth Ballard Murray
You can lend your support as well. Contact Amy Longwell at Heart of Kentucky United Way,
or drop me a note at the email below.
The second related event happened last Monday when the Danville School Board
authorized adding a fourth pre-school class to the district, which will create enough new
seats to serve 160 students in total. The difference in this classroom is that some positions
(20) will be open to serve tuition-based families in addition to the at-risk children who will
continue to be served.
There are more than 1,700 children in the county age 0-5. This is a small, but significant
step in the right direction. As a community, we can continue to make major progress toward
finding other oases in the child care desert, but it will take a commitment of time, talent, and
I ran into a friend at the grocery recently, and she reminded me that the money already exists
to make a difference regarding so many social issues, it’s just still in your pocket. You can
make that difference. Right now, it won’t even cost you a dime. Just lend your name and
support to the work of the DBECA (www.dbeca.org). Do your own homework by reviewing the
Alliance’s white paper:
Contact Amy or me to let your voice be heard in support of eradicating the child care issues
that confront our community each and every day. And remember, when the time does come
to make a monetary investment in early childhood development, the dollar you spend today
will return up to $17 in the future.
As always, go Ads!
This article originally appeared in the February 26, 2019 edition of The Advocate-Messenger.