Studer Community Institute

Pen Air/SCI partnership is an investment in early education

From left to right: Reggie Dogan and Shannon Nickinson of SCI; Stu Ramsey, CEO/president of Pen Air; and Quint Studer, SCI founder and president.

Efforts to make Pensacola America’s first Early Learning City got a boost through an early childhood education partnership.

Pen Air Federal Credit Union and Studer Community Institute on Tuesday announced their partnership of the Early Brain Development initiative at the Blue Wahoos Stadium.

Pen Air pledged to make a donation of interchange feees earned on all purchases made with the credit union’s Blue Wahoos Platinum MasterCard Credit Card to the Institute.

Stu Ramsey, Pen Air president and CEO, presented a check for $4,016.56 to jumpstart the initiative that will pay for “brain bags” that will be distributed by area hospitals to parents of newborns.

The donation comes from funds that have been collected since Pen Air launched the credit card program in 2012

SCI is working with the University of Chicago’s Thirty Million Words Initiative to educate parents of newborns at Baptist, Sacred Heart and West Florida hospitals on ways to enhance brain development in babies from birth to 3 years old.

“Pen Air represents their mission to enhancing the lives of others so well,” Quint Studer, founder and CEO of SCI said. “This is just one more example of Pen Air living their mission, and there is no better way of doing that than to give each child their best chance for success.”

Research conducted by SCI shows that every year, 1,000 of the 3,000 5-year-olds in Escambia County show up for their first day of school behind their kindergarten classmates, some by as much as two years.

A key reason is many parents don’t understand the role of language in brain development.  Nearly 85 percent of a child’s brain is developed during the first three years of life. This is why it is critical we reach parents well before children reach kindergarten.

“Education is a core focus at Pen Air, so it makes sense for us to partner with this initiative,” Ramsey said. “We agree with the institutions school of thought that children are our greatest investment, and their future success in school and in life depends on our investment in early education.”

Along with Studer Community Institute and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the Studer Family of Companies is comprised of Studer Properties, The Bodacious Family of Shops in both Pensacola and in Janesville, Wis. and Bubba’s Sweet Spot.

All profits from the Studer Family of Companies are re-invested into job creation and funding early childhood education initiatives conducted by the Studer Community Institute including its plan to make Pensacola America’s first Early Learning City.

Learn more about the charitable program at penair.org/BlueWahoos.