Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony
Thank you to everyone who joined us to kick off the holiday season at the 2016 Mayor's Holiday Tree Lighting! Thanks to your generosity, we were able to donate over $6,000 in financial contributions, school supplies and healthy snacks to the Mayor's Holiday Tree Lighting charity beneficiary, Growing Futures Early Education Center.
2016 Mayor's Tree Lighting Ceremony Beneficiary | Growing Futures Early Education Center
Growing Futures Early Education Center, formerly Head Start of Shawnee Mission, is a not-for-profit organization providing quality early education opportunities and family support services for children in Johnson County, Kansas. Today Growing Futures serves over 250 low-income children and their families with Early Head Start and Head Start programs. In addition, they offer opportunities for any family to benefit from quality early education programming with competitive rates and no income eligibility requirements.
Although the Growing Futures program has grown since 1965 to meet the increasing needs of Johnson County families, funding has not kept pace with the demand for services. During the decade, Johnson County's population grew 20% while at the same time, the number of people living in poverty increased 134%. Growing Futures maintains a waitlist of more than 100 children who needs their services, but must do without because the funding is not in place to serve them.
Growing Futures is funded only in part through federal and state grants. They are currently required to raise more than $328,000 in private/community dollars each year to meet matching requirements for federal grant funding. Beyond that, significant additional funds are required to operate the program and fully serve enrolled families in our community who rely on Growing Futures to provide comprehensive family serves that support children's' success.