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Nationwide Garden Parties to Raise Money to Sponsor ECE Fees for Kids

For families lacking the ability to fund the cost of sending their child to early childhood education, because they earn too much for a subsidy but not enough to afford quality ECE, there is now hope in the form a new and novel fundraising programme.  


Detroit, July 2012 - Six events, from Grosse Pointe Park to Traverse City, will be held this summer to create life-changing opportunities for some of Michigan's children.

The non-profit Michigan Women's Caring Programme announced dates for six annual summertime parties, called Twilight Gatherings, across the state. It's a "girl's night out" unlike any other to raise funds, celebrate friendship, and raise a glass of wine to Michigan's future generation.

The events help support scholarships for children from age 0 to 5 from working families across Michigan who earn too much for governmental childcare assistance but can't afford high-quality early care and education.

"Again and again, research shows that early education pays off exponentially for children, helping prepare them for future success,'' said Colleen Robar, president of the Women's Caring Programme. "We know that disadvantaged children who start school behind their middle-class peers do not catch up. Having that strong preschool experience has a lifelong, positive impact on the children we serve.''

The heart of WCP's mission is supporting early childhood education through licensed quality childcare for working poor families across Michigan. WCP is one of Michigan's premier advocates for early care and education. Building upon a historically strong base of corporate and individual support, the Ann Arbour-based non-profit has magnified its impact in recent years, attracting several major grants, including pilot projects to guide quality improvements at child care centres.

WCP's traditional annual garden party, the Twilight Gathering, sprouted from a small front porch gathering of women in 1979 with the initial goal of expanding their circle of friends. Each year thereafter, friends invited more friends, and more than three decades later the Twilight Gatherings attract hundreds of women state-wide for a festive evening of spirited laughter and mingling in gorgeous outdoor settings.

In 1995, the Women's Caring Programme became a registered non-profit to support its signature programme, ChildCare Commitment, Michigan's only state-wide programme of its kind. In total, the non-profit has awarded over $US2 million to families in 77 of the 83 Michigan counties, up from 64 counties in 2011.

Robar said: "Our strength is the support of an incredibly strong network of women across the state who understand that the educational and social experiences children have starting at birth have a direct impact on how ready they are for kindergarten and, ultimately, their success as adults and our success as a society."

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