Kalamazoo County Ready 4s

Fred Rogers once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

Within two weeks of preschools being closed for COVID, it was abundantly clear to our team at KC Ready 4s that the pandemic was going to dramatically affect the lives of our young children as well as the livelihoods of our partner providers. We knew it was essential to bring our network of program directors together to share ideas and resources, to problem solve and, most of all, to listen and help.

After a year of working together in new creative ways and listening to the needs of the early education sector, we knew there was one statistic we could not ignore: Over 75% of our partner teachers had no health benefits. During the pandemic, record numbers of teachers left the field, and we knew this was one way KC Ready 4s could help.

In July of 2021, KC Ready 4s introduced Thriving Teachers Thriving Children, an employee assistance program that provides all of the teachers and staff in 26 of our partner providers access to telemedicine, counseling, a crisis line and wellness resources at no cost. PCCN Preschool Director Laurie Kreg said, “The Thriving Teachers initiative is going to gift our teachers and their families the opportunity to seek necessary health supports that our programs simply cannot afford. It’s another example of how KC Ready 4s continues to not only support young learners in Kalamazoo County but also the programs that are leading the way in high quality early childhood education.”

For more information, visit www.kcready4s.org