Napa Valley, CA: In keeping with the spirit of giving this holiday season, the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) today announced its investment of $1.275 million in community services to help Napa County children--from preschool to college--succeed in school and beyond. This is the third category of giving announced from the proceeds of the 2012 Auction Napa Valley fundraiser, and is part of its $7 million commitment to two strategic priorities: community health and children's education.
Research shows that it is far more effective--in terms of outcomes, cost and benefit to the community--to ensure that children are prepared for entering school and have access to constructive after-school and mentoring programs to keep them in school, than it is to intervene after issues have arisen.
In Napa County, one of every five youth is considered to be socioeconomically disadvantaged, and research shows that youth from low-income communities are at a serious disadvantage when it comes to life success: economic self-sufficiency, full civic participation, and becoming leaders.
"Skills for success--in school and life--are accumulated over time and built on each other, and we want to ensure that all children, from toddlers to young adults, have the opportunities at each age to develop those skills," said NVV executive director Linda Reiff. "The NVV is investing in local programs that prepare students for entering school, empower parents to be involved in their children's education, help students develop critical thinking skills, and guide them in learning how to make good decisions as they grow."
Eight organizations received funding to expand their programs and outreach: Boys and Girls Clubs of Napa Valley in Napa and American Canyon; Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Helena and Calistoga; Big Brothers Big Sisters; Summer Search; On the Move; NapaLearns; Child Start Inc.; and Napa Valley Adult Education's First Step.
SCHOOL READINESS: EARLY SOCIAL SKILLS = SUCCESS IN SCHOOL AND BEYOND
Success in school--and beyond--relies on more than knowledge. It requires motivation, sociability, self regulation and esteem, and the ability to work with others, among other things. Research shows that these basic skills form in the child's first few years, and that children living in poverty--with little or no access to preschool or in-home learning opportunities before they enter school--are at higher risk of entering school behind their peers in these skills.
"Kindergarten teachers will tell you that while it's great to have children start school knowing their letters, shapes and colors, it's critically important for them to come with the skills for learning those things," says Debbie Peralez executive director of Child Start, Inc. "Without good self-regulation habits or social skills, their ability to learn is limited, which can cause them to lag behind throughout their school years. But the good news is that working with these children and their parents on developing these skills before the children enter school can make all the difference."
Overall, early education can:
- reduce grade retention, the use of special education and welfare, and youth's involvement in crime
- improve children's test scores and attendance
- increase rates of high school completion and college attendance
- improve lifetime earnings for these students, while saving as much as $16 in later services for every dollar invested
AFTER-SCHOOL CARE AND MENTORING: A HUGE RETURN ON INVESTMENT FOR YOUTH AND THE ECONOMY
In addition, research identifies after-school hours as particularly challenging for children without supervision. Unsupervised children are more likely to become involved in crime or other dangerous behaviors, and are also likely to become victims of crime. Quality after-school programs can reduce these risks and dramatically improve outcomes.
"The benefits of quality after-school programs and opportunities is compelling," says Eric Dreikosen, director of operations for the Boys & Girls Club of Napa Valley. "Studies of the Boys & Girls Clubs across California* show that both school attendance and grades improve for the majority of children who participate. These youth are also more likely to work toward continuing their education after high school. Clubs in California avert approximately 3,539 youth from being arrested annually, saving taxpayers $56,099 per arrest averted, and have cut the rate of underage drinking by as much as 50% among Club youth, saving taxpayers up to $136.4 million."
HELPING OLDER STUDENTS BREAK THE CYCLE OF POVERTY
For many who graduate high school and plan to continue with college, the transition can be daunting, particularly for those from low-income families or those who are the first generation in their family to attend college. Among NVUSD graduates who enroll in community college, only 27% will complete a degree program.** But programs such as Summer Search, which offers low-income high-school students mentoring, summer experiential education and one-on-one college advising during high school, and ongoing support during their first two years of college (when students are most likely to drop out), can mean the difference between a life lived in poverty or not: College graduates have a median annual income that is double that of high-school graduates--a benefit to the graduate, their family, their community and the economy.
This is the third of six overall categories of funding being made from proceeds from the Napa Valley Vintners' Auction Napa Valley 2012 fundraiser. The first investment was $1.9 million for direct medical and the second was $1.14 million for resources, education and services for at-risk families. The remaining three categories will be announced over the coming three months. For more information, visit www.auctionnapavalley.org.
*Commissioned by the California Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs in partnership with California Lutheran University
**National Center for Education Statistics
View the list of eight beneficiaries