Special Collection, Sunday, March 13
Kalamazoo County Ready 4s

kcready4sOur Special Collection on Sunday, March 13 will be for KCReady4s. Enrollment for the fall is in process right now and there is not enough money (or funded slots) to meet demand. Our contribution in this collection will help KCReady4s expand the number of children they can support and enroll for the fall. Knowing that 85% of one’s social-emotional and intellectual development occurs by age five confirms our commitment to this crucial program. Please give generously.

KCReady4s is a non-profit organization building a collaborative system to assure a high quality pre-kindergarten experience for every four-year-old-child in Kalamazoo County. During the past five years KCReady4s has successfully

  • Provided tuition assistance for 588 families to enroll their 4-year-old in a high-quality program. (75% of the 4-year-olds in Kalamazoo County qualify for some level of tuition assistance),
  • Supported 43 private childcare centers and group homes under Michigan’s Great Start to Quality system,
  • Partnered with Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency, K-12 school districts and private providers to streamline and improve organizational systems,
  • Partnered with other public and private organizations that serve children and young families
  • Collected assessment data showing that a child who participates in a KCReady4s program experiences an increase in kindergarten readiness of 14 percentile points, and overall learning during the year increases by 82%.


Prisoner Release Update

For more than four years Rick Johnson, Molly Fairbanks and George McCrea, through the Kalamazoo Center for Transformation’s interfaith program, have been helping parolees and inmates make the transition from prison to living responsibly in society.  They need some help!

Partnering with K-Pep (Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program), the mentors—one-on-one and as a group—help these “returning citizens” with daily living and social skills as well as job searching.  Training sessions are provided. Meeting weekly at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesdays, the mentors talk with mentees and encourage them.  Mentees must volunteer and be accepted for the program.

The “job description” for a mentor volunteer is varied, ranging from one-on-one conversations, to driving to appointments, to cooking a casserole. Essentially it’s being there when needed, listening, and encouraging. As Rick and George have said, it becomes family. Several parolees have successfully made the transition with help from mentors. One thing is guaranteed—a lot of new experiences.

If you think you could be a mentor to give encouragement to a young man or woman deserving of a second chance, please contact Rick Johnson or Ann Feldmeier (feldtrow@aol.com).


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