Yesterday, we had the honor of dedicating EcoHouse in loving memory of Cherese Mari Laulhere. Long-time supporters, Chris & Larry Laulhere, donated $1.5 million towards the EcoHouse capital campaign in honor of their beloved daughter who died tragically 21 years ago.
Through the Cherese Mari Laulhere Foundation they support causes that were near and dear to Cherese, who had a passion for helping those in need, especially children and animals. We are so grateful to be among the many worthy organizations to be touched by Cherese and are proud to have her name on this building.
This is, without a doubt, one of our favorite traditions. Every year, to commemorate the birth of our co-founder, Jennifer Fitzgerald, friends and supporters Dennis & Leslie Smith treat all the kids in our program to a brand new pair of shoes.
It's a wonderful and welcome gift for our little ones and a fitting way to honor Jennifer. Thanks, Dennis & Leslie!
Andy Perez, Union Pacific's Director of Port Affairs in Long Beach delivered a check in the amount of $15,000 from their foundation to Tonya Burns. Union Pacific has been a long time supporter of Children Today, giving its first donation in 2009. This year's donation marks the 9th and largest amount awarded from the foundation. We are extremely grateful to Union Pacific and Andy Perez for their consistent support and annual giving to our organization.
Children Today is really fortunate to be embraced and supported by so many members of our community, and at no time is that generosity better evidenced than during the Holiday Season.
Every year, Children Today hosts a "Holiday Store" and invites current and alumni parents to select and wrap gifts for their children. We ask for and receive donations from dozens of individuals, businesses, and community groups and one of our truly awesome donors is Debra Patalano.
Debra spends a great deal of her time, talent, and resources to gift our children, families, and staff with beautiful and beautifully hand-made, one-of-a-kind creations. From scarves, to blankets, to dresses, to aprons (and more), each of these items exemplify her creativity and care. Thank you so much, Debra. We are all really touched.
“National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week” is held each year the week before Thanksgiving. This year, it is held on November 12th through the 20th. As we prepare for the Thanksgiving Holiday and think about all that we are thankful for, we are asking you to remember that some families have it harder than others. And worse, there are many families with very young children who are experiencing homelessness in America.
At Children Today, every year we serve more than 100 children and their families who are experiencing homelessness. Some families are living in shelters or are temporarily housed in motels. And, yes some families are currently living on the streets. This is difficult for most of us to imagine. Recently, we enrolled Taylor (not her real name) into our preschool program. She is two years old. Her parents are Mary and Nathan (not their real names). Mary told us that their family is currently living at the beach and sleeping wherever they can. She tried to make us feel better about her situation and assured us that she had lots of blankets and covers to stay warm at night. The family has been homeless since January when Mary lost her job. Mary is just like you and I. She is a very concerned and doting mother and she wants the best for her daughter. We connected them to the City of Long Beach’s Multi-Service Center for the Homeless. Here, Mary and Nathan will receive services from a collaboration of agencies that will help them to obtain housing and with other basic needs. In the meantime, Taylor is being cared for by our staff at Children Today. Our teachers provide her with social and emotional support and care, so that she feels safe and secure. As you can imagine, this is not easy for her, given her family’s housing situation.
In recognition of “National Hunger and Homelessness Week,” you can help families like the one described above by making a contribution to Children Today. Please make a tax deductible donation.
Donate to the Holiday Store and help make the season bright for dozens of children and their families. See below to learn how!
We are very pleased to announce that we were approved for the Share A Story book grant provided by the Molina Foundation. This grant funds 100 high quality children's books that will be shared with the children and families served by our programs. These books will help develop our children's reading, language and communication skills. We will also share these books with families, offering them a wider variety of books to share with their children at home.
In the coming weeks, please look forward to other posts and pictures about this generous donation.
Thanks again to the Molina Foundation for their great work in the Long Beach community.
From all of us at Children Today, thank you IKEA Carson for investing so much time and effort, and so many resources into this IKEA Life Improvement Challenge week. We thought we were getting a redecorated lobby. We got that, and so much more!
What a beautiful, cheerful and welcoming space! It's just how we want to greet our families and guests.
It's Christmas in July, folks. Our new best friends at IKEA Carson just asked the teaching staff what other things they needed in their classrooms and then came back with - basically - all of those things.
I could go on.
Stay tuned for even more wonderful things from IKEA as our Life Improvement Challenge week continues.
Back in April, we won the IKEA Life Improvement Challenge to make over a space in our beautiful Eco House facility (thanks to all of you who voted for us)!
This week, our new friends from IKEA Carson have come out in force to build furniture, decorate our lobby, and provide us with storage solutions for our offices and classrooms.
We are so excited to have IKEA Carson working with us this week and can't wait to see the finished product! We'll keep you posted!
Various members of the Children Today staff contribute to these blog posts.