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A child’s best friend

A child’s best friend

I share this because I truly appreciate your dedication and perseverance to early childhood learning. After reading about your early reading initiative sponsored by the generous donation of Carol and Barney Barnett, I simply had to help.

A place called Patches

A place called Patches

I remember the day as if it were yesterday. October 13, 2005, was the day my life changed forever. I was only sixteen at the time, and scared out of my mind.

Partnering with parents

Partnering with parents

We feel it is important to partner with school-readiness families who cannot afford to pay market rate. We use the same curricula and offer the same rich learning experiences throughout the day.

Seizing the American dream

Seizing the American dream

Valeria Lento believes all children should have a chance at success. All over Florida, there are children on the edge of failure. The proof is in the numbers: one out of every four Florida students never graduates high school.

A Child Is Missing becomes a reality…

A Child Is Missing becomes a reality…

Sherry Friedlander is the founder and CEO of A Child is Missing, a national and community-based program to locate missing children, the disabled and elderly during the critical first hours of disappearance.

Irina’s choice

Irina’s choice

Seven months after moving to Florida, Irina Flores-Montalban found out that her 11-year-old son, Jose, had a blood clot in his heart and needed an operation. She had no health insurance.

A simple equation for VPK

A simple equation for VPK

Perhaps Florida’s legislators need to go back to preschool. Then maybe they could figure out what Danyiel Louis sees as a very simple equation for the state’s Voluntary Pre-Kindergaten program. “Invest now,” she says, “or invest later.”

What KidCare means to my family

What KidCare means to my family

When Donna’s Stone’s husband left his job as a public school teacher to pursue their dream of owning their own small business, they faced a terrifying prospect.

Falling on deaf ears

Falling on deaf ears

Alexandra DeMolina, the mother of a deaf child, wishes decision-makers would listen more to the concerns of Florida’s parents.

'You have to hurt to understand'

'You have to hurt to understand'

I write with the wisdom of 26 years as a parent of a beautiful daughter with spina bifida. When Katie was little, I pored through books looking for anything to provide a road map. I wanted to know how other parents got through this, if they ever stopped crying, if it ever got any better."

My son’s first seizure

My son’s first seizure

On a beautiful Jacksonville day, I was enjoying the company of close friends at a baby shower when I got the call, "Danielle, get down to the Children’s Hospital. Joshua has had a seizure!” My perfectly healthy little 2-year-old son now faced the toughest battle of his life. When the doctors said, “Joshua has a neurological condition called epilepsy, also known as seizure disorder,” my life was radically changed.

One little brother’s story…

One little brother’s story…

Dagoberto Cruz knows first-hand what a “gigantic” impact mentoring can have on the life of a child. Just 18 years old, Dagoberto Cruz’s life has not been an easy one.

Street smarts

Street smarts

Gerald Cox is on the front lines of dealing with the fallout from Florida’s failure to invest in education. As a high school teacher and coach with 40 years experience, he has made it his mission to work with students struggling at the bottom of the class. And while he gives his all every day, searching for ways to connect with kids, he worries about the future.

Anger and hope and the children

Anger and hope and the children

I am 83 and retired. My professional career covered practicing law for 17 years and almost four decades as a judge serving children and their families. The work has been rewarding but not always successful. Nonetheless, I feel blessed and grateful that what I chose was the right job for me.

Life and death

Life and death

Seth Hyman is the father of a severely disabled, medically complex and very fragile little girl. Making sure Becca gets the help she needs has been more than a full-time job for Hyman and his wife, Danielle.

ReadingPal volunteer gives back

ReadingPal volunteer gives back

For Ramona Roberts, coaching her ReadingPal students so they can experience a love of reading is why she has volunteered through the United Way of Northeast Florida initiative for the last three years.