HELENA — Thousands of dollars will soon make its way into the greater Helena area to help support children aged zero to five.
“...the research shows that children who are supported early on do better, out, do better later on in life. They have better outcomes in so many different areas of their life,” says Zero to Five Community Coordinator at St. Peter’s Health and Lead at ECC, Maureen Bjerke.
The Zero to Five Grant from Headwaters Foundation was recently given to the Early Childhood Coalition of the Greater Helena Area.
This grant is going to allow the coalition to rebuild and come back together after Covid badly damaged the coalition according to Brandi Thomas, Provider Services Supervisor for Child Care Connections. The coalition is made up of various organizations such as St. Peter’s Health, Child Care Connections, and the Helena School District.
The grant will be used for community events as well as community projects. For example, the ECC just approved a donor breast milk project at St. Peter’s.
Thomas acknowledges the issue of childcare in Montana and how much of a problem it poses for parents across the state.
“We are in a severe childcare shortage in this state, dare I say crisis,” says Thomas.
Thomas says that the community will have a say in where this money goes and that folks can reach out to the coalition with suggestions.
“The idea of this coalition is going to be driven by the community and what early childhood needs in the community,” says Thomas.