Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Foundation steps up fundraising to help Pasco, Hernando families with child care costs

SPRING HILL — Megan Fish was working, but she couldn't save any money.

"All my checks were going to child care," said Fish, 19, mother of 1-year-old Brayden and an employee at Care-A-Lot Preschool. "I barely had enough for diapers."

Her boss told her that the Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties offered subsidized child care to parents who qualified. In April, she filled out the paperwork, but Brayden was on a waiting list of at least 600.

At the same time, the coalition's nonprofit foundation was busily raising money. Members racked up $10,000 through an antique car show and other events. They decided to spend $4,800 to provide services to two children — one in each county — who had been on the waiting list a long time. One of them was Brayden. The other was 15-month-old Presley, daughter of Lauren Schafer of Holiday.

"People often find child care through family relationships," said Jim Farrelly, the coalition's executive director. "They leave the child with grandma and that's great. But we want children in an educational setting where they are getting instruction to enter and succeed in school."

Two years ago, the coalition started a private foundation to try to make up for shrinking state funding.

"We got small donations," said Farrelly, who noted the lack of big corporate donors in Hernando and Pasco.

He said the wait list, which now stands at more than 600, has been on track to reach 2,000. Farrelly wants to knock that down as much as possible.

"To deal with all the kids on my wait list it would take an additional $7 million," he said.

He said this year the agency took a $125,000 hit to its $26 million budget, which also is devoted to funding the state's voluntary prekindergarten program that is open to all families. Next year, it's projected to lose $250,000 because of tight state finances and a new funding formula.

"We don't want to see anybody on the waiting list," said Dave Meglay, a certified financial planner and chairman of the foundation board. He said the state ties the coalition's hands by not allowing employees to raise money. A private foundation doesn't have to operate under those restrictions.

"Now that the foundation is getting some legs, we can put a dent in the wait list," he said.

Fish plans to use the extra take-home pay to start nursing school and eventually become a pediatric nurse.

"This is going to be a huge help," she said. "Not all my money is going to have to be put toward day care."

. If you go

Raise your glass

The Foundation for Early Learning is hosting a wine tasting fundraiser from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 13 at Strong Tower Vineyard, 17810 Forge Drive in Spring Hill, just south of the Pasco-Hernando county line. In addition to wine, the event will include light refreshments and silent auctions. Admission costs $25 per person. Tickets are available at phelc.org. All proceeds benefit the foundation.

Foundation steps up fundraising to help Pasco, Hernando families with child care costs 10/25/12 [Last modified: Thursday, October 25, 2012 8:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  3. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  4. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  5. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)