It’s a great day for our youngest children in West Lakes! Through our partnership with Florida Hospital Foundation, the Maryland based Bainum Family Foundation invested $12.75 million towards the construction and operation of a state-of-the-art early learning center. The facility will be built on a 1.3 acre, vacant land parcel adjacent to Orange Center Elementary School and will accommodate 150 children ages six-months through three years old.
The project is in the beginning stages of design and we hope to break ground at the end of this year and be operational by the end of 2019.
“LIFT Orlando, Florida Hospital and the Bainum Family Foundation have a shared interest in providing services and supports to low-income communities to create opportunity and help children and families thrive,” says David Daniels, Vice President of Operations and Organizational Effectiveness for the Bainum Family Foundation. “This partnership also leverages our Foundation’s knowledge and work in creating high-quality early learning programs for infants and toddlers to support their cognitive, physical and social-emotional development as well as overall family well-being.”
Why bring an early learning center into West Lakes?
“Because education is key,” says West Lakes resident Charlene Caines. “Being a single mom of four boys, I’ve always emphasized getting a quality education because learning is knowledge. I feel that early childhood learning centers are important components of every community, and every child deserves the right to a good, quality education.”
Here is an excerpt from a blog we wrote a while back about the importance of a solid cradle-to-career educational pipeline in the Communities of West Lakes.
The cradle-to-career education pipeline is the educational experience for a child that begins at 6 weeks old and continues through the end of high school as students launch into college or their careers.
Our Atlanta based partner, Purpose Built Communities has learned from years of research where the critical points are in any cradle-to-career continuum. Their research shows that a child’s preparedness for kindergarten and ability to read at grade level by the third grade will determine to a great extent whether he or she will finish high school, become economically self-sufficient and remain on track for a healthy life.
“Early learning is the key that opens all doors in life,” said Shirley Bradley, a 43 year retired OCPS educator and long-time resident in West Lakes. “An early learning center will be a plus in our neighborhood and early learning equals success. Children will be able to go from infancy and develop the foundations of building skills which will enable them for future success throughout their lifetime.”
This investment in our youngest children is coming at just the right time. As we’ve begun occupancy in the 200-unit mixed-income development, Pendana at West Lakes, more than 80 families have moved into their new homes bringing more than 100 children into the neighborhood. Our population of children is going to continue to grow.
By sealing the gap in early learning education for our youngest children we are beginning an exciting new chapter in the cradle-to-career educational pipeline in the Communities of West Lakes!
Thank you Bainum Family Foundation!