May 24, 2012 – Community support will “ready” Kindergartners for success

The third annual Ready for Life breakfast brought together over 300 friends of the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation for a great cause - to raise money to support full-day Kindergarten programs for children who are at-risk academically and reside in socially vulnerable communities.

On May 24, invited guests met bright and early at 7:30 a.m. at Ross Shepherd School for breakfast, bubbles, laughter and outstanding entertainment. In total, approximately $375,000 was realized through generous contributions made by individuals, organizations and funding agencies.

"The research is solid! We know that the seeds of learning for little bean sprouts need to be cultivated early," exclaimed Foundation Director Sandra Woitas. "We also know it takes an entire community - people like you in the audience today - to help nurture and grow a thriving group of learners who are ready for life."

Even before the big day, the generosity of the Foundation's supporters was in full bloom. Some of the early bird contributors are the RBC Foundation (3rd year contributor and Foundation's first corporate donor); Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (2nd year of 5-year commitment); Anonymous donor (2nd year contributor); EPCOR (2nd year contributor); and The Bear 100.3 FM (2nd year contributor).

On average, it costs about $100,000 to subsidize a half day of Kindergarten. Because 100 per cent of the money raised at the event will go directly back into the classroom, the three full-day Kindergarten programs already established at Lauderdale, Mee-Yah-Noh and Tipaskan schools will be sustained for the 2012-13 school year.

The event was emceed by Grade 10 and 11 students from Ross Sheppard School. Early bird entertainment was provided by a Métis Fiddler who is a student at Prince Charles School; the program was kick-started by the Thunder Drum from Ross Sheppard School; and, mid-way through the program, Grades 1, 2 and 3 students from Youngstown School sang their little hearts out. Among the presentations, Principals Lil Rueck from Tipaskan School and Dorothy Arts from Lauderdale School announced their school's contribution to the Foundation via their pay-it-forward campaigns.

Lastly, many of the audience members shed a few tears during the compelling finale presentation made by a former student and ambassador of public education. Hana Marinkovic shared her heartwarming story about what her life was like growing up in a single-parent household and her family's struggle with her mother's mental health challenges.

"The most consistent support I had during my youth came from the incredible teachers in my life," she explained. "Having the increased capacity to support children in their early years means they have an opportunity to really grow, develop and shine."
Click here to view event pictures.

Guests also watched an inspiration video featuring various donors spending time teaching in the three Kindergarten classrooms.
Click here to watch the video.

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