The Kids Co. Annual Report
Here at Kids Co. we have a mission, a vision, and values that inform and drive everything we do.
The COVID 19 pandemic brought new challenges, but it also gave us the opportunity to reaffirm our commitment – to our kids, to our families, to our staff and board, to our donors, and to our communities.
Cambridge Dictionary defines commitment as “a promise or firm decision to do something.” When Kids Co. started more than 30 years ago, we made a promise to provide high-quality and affordable child care to the families and communities that need it the most. Since opening our doors, we have served thousands of kids from all different backgrounds, and we made a firm decision to never turn a child away due to their family’s inability to pay.
Child care is an essential service in these times when the majority of parents must work to support their families. School hours do not align with work hours, and many families struggle to cover care during school breaks. In the words of one of our Kids Co. parents, “it helps us bridge the gap between the end of school and the workday.” Children need a safe and supportive place where they can continue to learn, grow, and have fun while their families are working.
Reliable child care is also essential for our economy because it allows working and student families, especially women, to participate in the workforce. As one Kids Co. parent said, “safe and accessible child care is necessary for us to both be able to work.” Reliable daycare expands the workforce and provides businesses with more dedicated employees, who are less likely to miss work or leave their jobs due to family obligations.
Kids Co. is not just a place for kids to be during work hours, though. As part of our commitment to our kids and families, we incorporate high-quality programming that keeps kids engaged and expands learning opportunities. We choose activities that reinforce and expand on concepts learned in the classroom, provide physical activity, and support social and emotional learning (see page 2 to learn more about social and emotional learning (SEL)).
The COVID-19 pandemic hit the child care sector hard. Many centers shut their doors, and families were left scrambling. Many had to make the impossible choice between working to provide for their families and staying home to care for their kids. Over 1 million employees left the workforce in September of 2020 and about 85 percent of them were women.
After providing emergency care at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, we saw how important our services were for families during the pandemic. We knew we needed to continue this support for the 2020-2021 school year. So, when Seattle Public Schools announced they would be shutting down and implementing virtual learning, we worked with the schools to provide full time care for those families that needed it most.
In addition to our regular high-quality programming, we also offered virtual learning support to the kids at our centers, ensuring they were attending class meetings and helping them to complete assignments. It was a challenging transition, but thanks to the commitment of our staff (see pages 5–6 to learn more about our dedicated Program Directors), and our partnerships with teachers and families, we were able to support families during this critical time.
As you explore the stories in this year’s report, we invite you to understand our challenges, but also to share in our successes. It is through the commitment and support of the entire Kids Co. community—board, staff, families, donors, and friends—that we were able to not only survive the first full year of the pandemic, but to continue to learn and grow. Thank you all for your continued support!
With the warmest of hearts,
Susan R. Brown and Joe Jornadal
Click HERE for the report in it’s entirety.
Interested in supporting Kids Co. year round? Click HERE to visit our donation page.