The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the ground beneath us. It has illuminated the injustices that have existed in our communities for generations, from access to health care to affordable housing. And it has magnified stressors for our youngest children and families — disproportionately families of color — who are experiencing homelessness, food insecurity, lack of child care or financial instability.
A New Name for a New Reality: The Ounce is Now Start Early
Our new name serves as a rallying cry for the issue and our mission. Here’s why we feel this is more important than ever.
Help All Children Thrive
The first five years of life are crucial in shaping lifelong success. This is a critical window to change a child’s future. Act now to ensure children have the best start in life through quality early learning.
We know quality early childhood experiences are critical to overcoming many of these inequities, helping to level the playing field and allowing children to thrive. Yet, many programs and supports for young children and families are in jeopardy. Providers of early childhood education and care have been devastated by the challenges and dire circumstances created by this health crisis. Now, the pandemic has exposed the long-standing need to invest more in our early learning and care systems.
Our new name, Start Early, along with our new logo and tagline, Champions for Early Learning, focuses on the idea that starting early and nurturing the attachments between children and adults build strong foundations and are essential to a child’s present and future well-being. While this belief always has and always will be part of our DNA, the need for equitable, quality early learning and care is more urgent than ever before. Our new brand can serve as a rallying cry, helping elevate the issue in public conversations and reaching new audiences.
For nearly 40 years, we have delivered best-in-class doula, home visiting and Early Head Start and Head Start programs and advocated for thoughtful policies and adequate funding at the local, state, and federal levels. From our roots directly serving families and children on Chicago’s South Side and in rural Illinois, we have expanded to impact programs and policies nationwide. Our role as on-the-ground practitioners is the bedrock of our expertise and our source of innovation and leadership in the field.
While our look may be changing, our work remains the same and the urgency has never been greater. We will continue to have a substantial presence in Illinois, focused on doula and home visiting services, early learning programs, and the research and policy efforts needed to validate and scale our impact. We will also continue to expand our reach across the country, provide professional development, and consult with early childhood leaders, partners and advocates to deliver and fight for our youngest learners.
As we enter this new chapter for our organization, we are excited about the future. Thank you to our partners and generous supporters for their long-standing dedication to advancing our mission. We are champions for early learning, and together, we transform lives.
About the Author
Diana Rauner, Ph.D., is president of Start Early, a national nonprofit with over 40 years of experience advancing quality early learning and care to help close the opportunity gap.More About Diana
Raise your voice and encourage lawmakers to prioritize early learning and care at the local, state and federal level.
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Together, when we start early, we can close the opportunity gap and ensure every child has a chance to reach their full potential.