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July 30, 2014

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Editor's Note: This opinion piece was submitted by a member of the public to The Day's community website, www.Zip06.com.

Collaborative for Colchester’s Children (C3) Awarded Grant

Posted By: Danielle C

Published 02/19/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 02/19/2013 11:53 AM

Colchester, CT (February 19, 2013) — Recently, the Collaborative for Colchester’s Children (C3) announced grant support for enhancing and implementing its community plan for early childhood literacy programming. Discovery grants are funded by the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, the Children’s Fund of Connecticut, and the Connecticut State Department of Education. This grant will help to ensure all children in Colchester, regardless of race and income level, are ready for school by age five prepared to be successful learners by age nine.

“All of the research shows that ‘early’ means everything. Early learning opportunities, early attention to health and child development and early interventions when necessary are the cornerstones for life-long success. This Discovery grant will make sure that we continue to develop our community-wide early support systems for all of Colchester’s children. We are incredibly grateful to the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund and its partners.”

-Ronald Goldstein, Board of Education Chair

Through the generous support of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund, C3 will be able to continue providing and creating opportunities that would not otherwise exist for the citizens of Colchester. The Collaborative will be holding a “March to Wellness Challenge” to create health and wellness for the whole family throughout the month of March. There will be a series of events including; Affordable Cooking on the Go, an Eat This, Not That grocery store tour, Get Movin’ to explore different youth and adult fitness activities, and a Spring to Wellness session, so that families can create a plan for change and learn how to sustain a healthy vision for their family.

"The goal of C3 is to ensure that all of Colchester's Children are happy, healthy and successful citizens. We have an extremely dedicated team of town officials, school administrators, teachers and community members who give freely of their time and talents to work together for this common goal. We are thrilled to receive this additional funding and support from the William Casper Graustein Memorial Fund, which will enable us to provide additional early literacy programming for some of our youngest community members. The collaborative work being done here in Colchester is second to none. "

-Joan O'Donnell, CASTLE Executive Director & C3 Chair

In 2011, through a partnership between the Colchester Rotary Club and Cragin Memorial Library, C3 established a Bookmobile; an early literacy initiative that offered traveling library services to children in identified neighborhoods. With additional support from the Town of Colchester and Backus Hospital, C3 will be reinstating the Bookmobile starting this February.

The goal of Discovery programs, such as C3, is to create an early childhood system that ensures optimal healthy development leading to early learning success for Connecticut children of all races and income levels. Discovery supports communities in establishing collaborative structures in which parents are full partners. Each community creates and implements its own community plan. Advocates and other stakeholders work to improve policy and practice at the local and state levels. Across Connecticut, 52 communities focus on improving the quality of and access to early care and education for children from birth through age five, improving the quality of PreK-3 education in ways that increase early language and literacy development among all children, improving young children’s health and social/emotional development, and increasing local and statewide capacity to measure and continue improvements.

The Collaborative for Colchester’s Children (C3), launched in 2005, serves as a local resource for children from birth to age eight and their families. C3 seeks to engage parents in their child’s early childhood education – birth through age eight – and in taking leadership roles within the community on behalf of all children. Since launching, C3 has hosted a wide-range of community programs, including a Family Fun Day Health and Wellness Fair and a Celebrating Families Event.

The Collaborative for Colchester’s Children (C3) hosted the 2nd Annual Family Fun Day Health and Wellness Fair. This was a free event for families featuring children’s activities, family resources, and much more! This event was a wonderful opportunity for the whole family to participate in a variety of activities while obtaining information about healthy habits and the many resources available to live a better life.

The work that Collaborative for Colchester’s Children (C3) has done in Colchester to strengthen the town’s capacity to bring the community at large together for the purpose of enhancing services for the young children and families and educating in all matters is remarkable and significant. To have so many stakeholders sharing a common vision and mission will only help create a strong and durable system of support for the children’s success.

-Jeffry Mathieu, Superintendent of Schools

C3 was able to hold a Celebrating Families Event for a day of learning and fun. Children were entertained and well cared for by partner CASTLE while parents attended breakout sessions that covered the most pressing needs of today’s parents/caregivers including; creating healthy lifestyles, making financial decisions in today’s economy, and developing early literacy and number sense for your preschooler or kindergartener.

Colchester is incredibly grateful for the support of the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund. Through their support, the Collaborative for Colchester’s Children has been able to have a positive impact on our youth. We need to ensure that every child has an opportunity to meet their full potential and early intervention supports that goal.

-Gregg Schuster, First Selectman

“Discovery communities are building on their own local resources to develop an early childhood system that reflects the needs and values of the community,” said David M. Nee, Executive Director, William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund. “We are pleased to support local collaborative councils, along with our state partners, with both funding and training, so that children of all races and income levels can become successful learners.”

“For children to succeed in school, attention to their health and social-emotional development beginning at birth, is essential,” said Judith Meyers, President and CEO of the Children’s Fund of Connecticut and its nonprofit subsidiary the Child Health and Development Institute (CHDI). “We are pleased to help community collaboratives address early child health in all aspects of their work and engage health providers along with others to optimize the chances for children’s success in school and in life.”

Grants from the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund to Discovery communities across the state are made possible by partnerships with the State Department of Education, Children’s Fund of Connecticut, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Connecticut Center for School Change.

William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund’s Discovery initiative offers grants and capacity building to 52 communities and six statewide partners. Capacity building is currently available in the areas of collaboration, parent engagement, results-based accountability, community planning and decision making, and facilitative leadership. To learn more, visit: http://discovery.wcgmf.org.

About the William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund

The William Caspar Graustein Memorial Fund works collaboratively to improve education for Connecticut’s children by strengthening the involvement of parents and the community in education, promoting school change and informing the public debate on educational issues.

About C3

The Collaborative for Colchester’s Children (C3) is a community partnership (mostly volunteer-driven) comprised of parents, educators, businesses, community members, health and service agencies, and civic organizations who work together to promote the health, happiness and success of Colchester’s youngest citizens. Our efforts focus specifically on the areas of Health and Wellness; Family Supports; and Early Care and Education.

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