Education

Escambia County Council PTA vendor fair builds partnerships

Becoming America’s First Early Learning City is paramount to Studer Community Institute’s mission of improving the quality of life for everyone in Northwest Florida.

They both are lofty goals that entail an array of activities, events, training and programs centered on early learning and developing babies brains.

At the foundation is education and every program and project, each event and engagement, all activities and ancillary involvement are built on the premise of preparing more children for kindergarten.

Kindergarten readiness is at the core of what we do and it’s encouraging to find so many agencies and organizations working toward the same goal.

I’m glad that the Escambia County Council of PTA/PTSAs is among them.

On Saturday, Aug. 19, they hosted their annual Leadership Training Event and Vendor Fair at the Pensacola State College Library and Arena.

ECCPTA invited local, non-profit, community based organizations to participate in training sessions covering leadership topics.

More than 500 people participated in the daylong event, including PTA members, school administrators, boosters, volunteers, vendors and guests.

Of the 500, Studer Community Institute was among the 80-plus vendors who filled the Lou Ross Gym with tables stocked full of information, activities, programs, services, giveaways and more to share with that attendees about our mission and goals for improving the quality of life in Northwest Florida.

ECCPTA President Michelle Salzman said an important part of the vendor was networking among vendors and introducing attendees to free program ideas as well as the new and innovative fundraising opportunities.

The event opened the door to networking and making contact with other agencies and organizations, leading to more relationships and better partnerships that in the long help make all of us better and our a community a better place to live.

Making contact and networking with the people on the ground level who actually run the program was important to me.

Avis Hite, program director for Pace Center for Girls Inc. Escambia, and Sandra Donaldson, director of special programs for Escambia Community Clinics, provided ideas for developing partnerships to enhance early learning programs and reach parents and children of ages 0 to 3.

Through Donaldson’s initiative, Escambia Community Clinics extended its reach to Oakwood Terrace, a low-income housing complex formerly named Truman Arms.

The program provides bi-monthly meetings on healthy choices with parents and a box of health-centered food at the end of each month.

It is through these programs that agencies build relationships and bonds with the community to earn trust and gain access to help build better people and better neighborhoods.

As SCI expands its parent outreach programs to other parts of the community, we can use the support, advice and guidance from Escambia Community Clinics work in Oakwood Terrace.

Organizations seek partnerships to add value through combined efforts. Although organizations may have different structures and approaches, they can work together toward common purposes and achieve shared results.

A partnership can be defined as a collaborative relationship among organizations. While definitions of partnerships vary, there are two common points: The idea of teamwork and collaboration, and the sharing of responsibility and reward.

A partnership is a give-and-take relationship that can strengthen organizations’ capacity for long-term cooperation and collaboration. To achieve the potential benefits of partnership, organizations must be prepared to build, sustain and evaluate them in a thoughtful way.

Vital to my duties as program coordinator is building relationships and creating partnerships to be in the best position to offer parents support to help develop the tools and skills to improve their children’s lives as they reach and exceed critical milestones.

We grown to believe that an Early Learning City is built on the premise of maximizing all of the resources in a community and directing them toward a common goal — helping all children have the best chance to be ready for school.

An Early Learning City maximizes all of the resources in the community and points them toward a common purpose — helping all children have the best chance to be ready for school.

When each person, every organization or agency does its part toward the common purpose of giving each child the best chance to be ready for kindergarten, the quality of life in the community improves for all of us.

At SCI, we’re taking small steps every day to make Pensacola’s America’s first Early Learning Center.

Events like the Leadership Training and Vendor Fair show that we are not in this journey alone.