To provide 'at risk' children, who are economically disadvantaged,
the educational, therapeutic, nutritional, and nurturing supports
necessary to gain an ‘even start’ in their lives. Educational and
therapeutic programming is supplied by a team of special needs educators
and professional therapists, on a case managed basis.
Our Children are ages 3-5years from ‘high risk’ homes challenged by
poverty and often attendant neglect, abuse, trauma, or domestic violence.
Most children have experienced some form of childhood trauma. Children
who have experienced childhood trauma and the effects of poverty,
neglect, abuse, and/or domestic violence experience a 70-90% developmental
lag compared to their peers.Three quarters of these children have
no accompanying medical condition.
Poverty is the common denominator among all children enrolled in the
program. Cyclical generational poverty, malnutrition, and neglect
provide a consistent backdrop to the EvenStart child’s early childhood
environment. Research in the area of Neurobiology (the study of how
the nervous system works) describes a 'window of opportunity' for
the development of intellectual and emotional capacities in children
from birth to 5 years of age. In the Early Childhood field, we have
known this for years. Now, science has caught up. We are learning
more and more about how a child's brain is 'wired' and how we as a
community, can support our children to grow into healthy and successful
adults. .At EvenStart, we believe that our work with children builds
our community's future.
The primary goal of the EvenStart program is to intervene in the lives
of these disadvantaged children and families in order to build resiliency
and improve the child's chances of succeeding in life. The time could
not be better. In our PreSchool Program, we work with the children
to change their social and behavioral patterns by assisting with the
development of resiliency strategies, with the closing of developmental
lags, and by teaching skills that will enhance their success in school
and community. In this way, our program offers both a preventative
and early intervention approach to this population of high-risk children.
Our programs serving these children and their families are located
close to their communities.We operate out of three sites in Calgary
(SW, Central, and NE). We annually serve approximately 200 children.
We provide them a centre-based educational and therapy treatment program,
with additional services of transportation and meals provision. We
also support our families through the assignment of donated clothing
to those in need. Most children come to us hungry and many require
a charitable supply of food, clothing, toys, etc., which we provide
in the way of hampers and other ad hoc family assists. All children
are provided the same opportunities regardless of background or family
children are fed, in good health, have access to education, live in
homes that are safe where parents are assisted in developing skills
that allow them to generate a livable income, and where children learn
that they are valued then these children are free to realize their
potential. Through a comprehensive 3-year educational and therapeutic
intervention program we aspire,
- To reverse a child’s developmental delays (cognitive, behavioral,
speech and language, physical) from an average of 70-90% to within
5% of childhood ‘norms’.
- To build a child’s resiliency and coping skills to better endure
‘at risk’ environments.
- To enable pre-school children to enter Grade One on an equal footing with more fortunate peers.
- To provide family parenting and resource supports.
- To reduce / eliminate the affects of cyclical poverty on a child’s
promise and ptential for school and life success!