April 2021 Newsletter
Dear Friends,

Happy April!

This month, we are proud to announce that Children First has been named a Top 50 Best Nonprofit to Work For nationwide!

Read on to learn more about our national ranking, your incredible support of our virtual event and silent auction, how to get involved with our #60for60 partner initiative, and more.

Thank you for your commitment to Children First
as we soar to new heights in 2021 and beyond!
Children First Recognized Nationally
as Nonprofit Employer
Children First was recently recognized as one of the top 50 nonprofit organizations to work for nationwide in the 2021 Best Nonprofits to Work For competition. Our agency ranked 24th overall in the medium-sized category.

“Children First could not be more humbled and honored to be recognized as a top nonprofit employer in the United States while simultaneously celebrating our 60th anniversary. This national accolade has only been made possible by our incredible staff who remain laser-focused on our mission each and every day, as well as our committed Board of Directors, volunteers, and community members who help to guide the crucial work that we do,” says CEO Philip Tavill.

You can read the full article from The Nonprofit Times
where our agency is featured by clicking the button below.
To read more about the award process and how Children First achieved this national ranking, please click here!
Thank You SRQ!
Thank you for nominating Children First and helping us be recognized as a six-time winner in the 2021 Best of SRQ Local competition!

With more than 70,000 votes cast by our local community
(the most ever!), our agency took the top place in five categories
as the Platinum Winner:

Best Preschool

Children First was also named as the
Silver Winner for Best Local Nonprofit.

A digital version of the ‘Best of SRQ Local’ feature that was printed in the April magazine can be found here. Children First is featured on pages 58, 78, 80, 87, 99, 115, and 116!
Celebrating 60 Years:
Fairytale Ball: The Sparkle Within
On April 10, we held our virtual 
Fairytale Ball: The Sparkle Within!
 
We are proud to share that with the help of our event sponsors, donors, and silent auction, we raised nearly $370,000 for our children and families!
 
Our families can follow their path to a bright, 
sparkling future like never before.

In case you missed it, or would like to share it with friends, you can access the entire video by following this link or
clicking the button below.
The Challenge for Changing Lives
A $1MM plus Matching Campaign
Children First is proud to announce
The Challenge for Changing Lives: $1,060,000 matching gift challenge led by Children First's
60th Anniversary Diamond Circle members.
 
Their goal is to inspire the community to join them in giving by matching all gifts, dollar for dollar, up to $1,060,000, throughout 2021 and we are more than halfway there!
Right now, the need for Children First’s
services has never been greater.

The ongoing pandemic has deeply affected the families we serve. While many of our children have funding to be with us this summer, there are 103 children who still need your support to receive services. Your gift will go twice as far in helping children and families this summer.

Join The Challenge for Changing Lives by making a gift today. You will be changing the lives of the children and families who need us the most - now and into the future.
Mission Moment: Growing the Child
This month, we celebrate the Children First mission of growing the child with the newest addition to our family! CEO Philip Tavill was on hand to welcome him in our Butterflies classroom.

In addition to working with our children and families, Children First also works with pregnant women to ensure the highest level of prenatal care possible.

Babies are welcomed into our classrooms at just 6 weeks old. They immediately begin learning based on their experiences and relationships with our loving staff members to encourage healthy neural connections and overall development.

Please join us in celebrating the
newest member of our family!
#60for60: Partner Initiative
Suzanna Avertisyan & the Dr. Piper Center for
Social Services and George Byrne & Ciao Gelato
Miss Suzanna Avertisyan was inducted into the Dr. Piper Center for Social Services Hall of Fame for her volunteer work at Children First as a Foster Grandparent on Feb 24, 2021. 

"Miss Suzie" began volunteering with our agency in 2015. Teachers in our Teddy Bears classroom say, “Miss Suzie is amazing, both working with and comforting the students and helping the class as it transitions from one activity to the next! We can’t wait to have her back with us! We miss her!” 
 
As a Foster Grandparent, Miss Suzie took the mandated courses and training to be able to volunteer with our children every day.

Although our volunteers are still unable to join us back in our classrooms just yet, our children love and miss her so much and everyone looks forward to having Miss Suzie when everything
is safe again. Congratulations Miss Suzie!
George Byrne, CEO Philip Tavill, and Ciao Gelato owner RJ Nafzinger

Special thank you to musician and former Board Member George Byrne and Ciao Gelato!

George played a special, socially-distanced show in honor of Children First's 60th anniversary and donated the funds raised toward our mission. Ciao Gelato contributed to bring the overall proceeds to $750 for our children and families.
Thank you for your partnership!
NCJW is continuing their campaign to build home libraries for our children, ages birth to 5, in support of our Family Literacy Program.

If you would like to contribute to this effort by donating books to our children, please click here!
Celebrating Earth Day
Children First staff partnered with Keep Sarasota County Beautiful and joined other members of our community for the Great American Clean Up on April 17.

Staff focused on the area from our Marieb Center on Orange Avenue to our Helen R. Payne Annex on MLK Way in support of litter removal in our community and local neighborhoods. 

Thank you to our staff members and all who participated!
Head Start learners from our Green Crayon Classroom had a blast celebrating Earth Day with fun gardening activities! Children learned all about watering and planting seeds and the positive effects of gardening on our environment.
Special Thanks to Our
60th Anniversary Co-Chairs & Committee
Our gratitude is extended to our 60th Anniversary Co-Chairs and Committee for their year-long commitment to Children First as we celebrate our Diamond Anniversary.

Committee members are serving as agency ambassadors in elevating the visibility of and engagement with the Children First mission including raising critical funds in support of comprehensive services for pregnant women, children
and families living at-risk.
1723 N. Orange Ave.
Sarasota, FL 34234
Phone: (941) 953-3877

Our Mission:
To strengthen children and families
by improving the quality of their lives
through a comprehensive approach to
development, education, health, and well-being.

Our Vision:
Children First envisions a vibrant community that cherishes education, provides opportunities for children and families to grow and thrive, and encourages and empowers families in supporting their children.

Children First is Sarasota County's exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services.
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE BY CONTACTING THE STATE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1-800-HELP-FLA. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY CONSENT, ENDORSEMENT OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. REGISTRATION #CH863.