Greet the giver: Collier Child Care Resources

Collier Child Resources fulfill child care needs of thousands

Niccoleh Howard, Executive Director, Collier Child Care Resources

Niccoleh Howard, Executive Director, Collier Child Care Resources

— STEP UP

Collier Child Care Resources (CCCR) works to support the needs of Collier County’s children, families and early learning professionals by providing high-quality education, resources and child care services. CCCR has served thousands of families with child care needs in Collier County since 1991.

They currently operate three childcare centers including the NCEF Early Childhood Development Center at Edison State College’s Collier Campus, the “A Step Up” program at Immokalee High School and the “A Step Up” program at Golden Gate High School. The Early Childhood Development Center serves up to 108 children who range in age from infancy to five years. The “A Step Up” programs give teen parents an opportunity to continue high school education without concern for affording child care. All centers adhere to the Reggio Emilia philosophy of education which focuses on building on the child’s interests in order to instill a lifelong love of learning.

CCCR also supports the professional development needs of the early childhood education community. They operate a training and resource center funded by the Naples Children & Education Foundation in the hope that supporting the professional development needs of early learning educators will increase the quality of child care to Collier County’s children.

1. IF YOU COULD GATHER THE COMMUNITY AND TELL THEM ONE THING ABOUT YOUR CHARITY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

We are capable of providing a high standard of service due to the dedicated members of the staff, all of whom demonstrate an extraordinary amount of caring for the children and a high level of professionalism. Their talents and intense interest in everything that matters and affects children is key to the continued success of the programs.

2. WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT HAVING A CHARITY IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA?

There are a couple of things that come to my mind that make it different, such as the seasonality of the optimum time for fundraising and charitable giving, and the socio-economic diversity of the area. There are those who are capable of showing outstanding generosity and compassion toward some of the less fortunate members of the population and give tirelessly of themselves and their resources.

3. WHAT SURPRISES YOU THE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH THIS CHARITY?

Undoubtedly, what surprises me most is the willingness of the community to listen to our concerns and needs and respond with incredible support. We are not well-known, although we have one of the best child care programs no one has ever heard about; but once we tell our story, the help is always there. For example, over 75 percent of the families receive tuition assistance because of their lower income status. Once we tell people in the community about this need, they give generously of their time, talent and resources. What many people do not realize is that the average cost of child care in the state of Florida for one child is about $8,000 per year, which is a substantial amount even if both parents are working. Although we receive some grant monies from the United Way to help subsidize tuition costs, we realize that these amounts can fluctuate from year to year, thus, we must rely upon donations from the community to ensure that the funds will continue to be there for the children.

4. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO DEVOTE YOUR TIME TO THIS CAUSE OVER OTHERS?

I like to be involved with programs that are mission-driven, particularly those that revolve around children. I have long ago come to the realization that nothing else will benefit or change society except providing exceptional child care and parenting skills, especially before the age of five. Studies support the statement that the better the learning and social environment we can provide for children before age five, the better members of society we will create. In addition to school readiness, they learn respect for others through an emphasis on teaching social and emotional development. It’s not just about the learning — it goes deeper than that — it is about the nurturing and caring. We like to make it a home away from home.

5. HOW DOES WORKING WITH YOUR CHARITY MAKE YOU FEEL?

At the end of the day, it really is all about the children. The staff realizes that it is important to give 100 percent each day to the children to guarantee the best start for their lives. They know that these little children are being influenced by the way they are treated, what they are exposed to and how problems are handled. It is more than just child care — it is getting them ready for the world in which they will become future employees, professionals, taxpayers, voters, neighbors, and yes, perhaps someday, parents. I get great satisfaction and a deep sense of accomplishment in knowing that we have an organization that understands the vitally important role of early learning and education.

Want to get involved?

Volunteers interested in learning more about CCCR’s programs may call and arrange for a tour at one of the centers. Volunteer positions include clerical work, organization for fundraisers, tutoring, light maintenance, grant writing, story telling, receptionist work, organization for special events and more.

Monetary contributions are always appreciated for use towards tuition assistance. Donations can be made at www.collierchildcare.org or checks can be made out to Collier Child Care Resources. CCCR also accepts donations of age-appropriate books, garden supplies, dress-up clothes, batteries, colored chalk, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, music supplies, playground equipment and other items for children. Those who have a special talent or collection they would like to share can donate their time.

Businesses can sponsor a child’s tuition for a minimum of $500 through the CCCR 100 program which was recently established for businesses that understand the importance that CCCR plays in early childhood education and workforce development.

COLLIER CHILD CARE RESOURCES

2400 TAMIAMI TR. N., STE. 303

NAPLES, FL 34103

WWW.COLLIERCHILDCARE.ORG

PHONE: (239) 643-3908

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