Summer Video Series Honors the People and Communities Helping Children Thrive
Battle Creek, MI – Early child care and education systems play an outsized role in children’s development. However, systemic barriers, such as a lack of funding, workforce shortages, cultural and language challenges and implicit bias, disproportionately affect children of color and children from low-income families. Educators, caregivers, communities and organizations are working tirelessly to break down these barriers every day so that all children can be successful in the classroom and beyond. To recognize and celebrate their impact, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) has launched a storytelling campaign with Emmy-nominated actor Tyler James Williams.
Throughout the summer, WKKF and Williams are elevating firsthand accounts of early child care and education advocates, highlighting both the challenges they face and their ongoing efforts to provide equitable learning and development opportunities for children across the U.S. The initiative began at the 2023 Essence Festival of Culture with an onstage conversation between Williams and WKKF President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron on the state of early child care and education, the recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings on Affirmative Action and the need for educators of color.
As part of the initiative, Williams, who brings cultural awareness to the heroic efforts of educators through his portrayal of a teacher on TV, narrates a new video series which can be found on EveryChildThrives.com/Care2Educate, @kelloggfoundation on Instagram and @wk_kellogg_fdn on Twitter.
“It means the world to me to partner with the Kellogg Foundation on this project because it brings action to the art. As an actor, we make an entertainment product that allows people to take time out of their day to laugh and find commonality,” said Williams. “But the inequity we find in schools, particularly schools of color, isn’t a joke. It’s not something that we can just be entertained by; it’s something we actually need to address. Through this project with the Kellogg Foundation, we’re lifting up the stories of change and resilience that happen every day in our schools and hopefully inspiring others to join us in speaking up to support the transformative educators and caregivers who make them possible.”
The challenges facing early child care and education in recent years have been increasingly concerning. For example, according to a recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, since early 2020, there are 100,000 fewer child care workers, representing nearly 10 percent of its workforce. And, without ample early education support, school readiness gaps between disadvantaged and more affluent children can be stark and have long-lasting effects. According to research shared by the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, a child’s vocabulary as early as age three can predict third-grade reading achievement.
“The challenges faced over the last few years by those who devote their lives to providing children with early care and education have been unprecedented. From the COVID-19 pandemic to the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that takes away an important framework to addressing deeply rooted historic and systemic racism, it’s never been clearer how critical educators and caregivers are to helping our children, families and communities navigate the many challenges they face to accessing high-quality education and equitable pathways to opportunity,” said Tabron. “Our goal in this partnership is to showcase and applaud the creativity, persistence and strength of those who have dedicated themselves tirelessly to helping children grow and reach success.”
For more information, visit EveryChildThrives.com.
About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special attention is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.