YORKVILLE – The Grundy County Chamber welcomes Birth to Five Illinois Region 24 to its Chamber membership.
“Birth to Five Illinois is reimagining a more equitable Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) system that respects family and community voice and works to ensure it is centered and prioritized at every level of decision-making in Illinois,” said Sharkisha Jones, Region 24 Council Manager.
Region 24 covers Grundy and Kendall counties and recently opened an office at 1304 Sunset Ave., Suite B, in Yorkville where the Grundy Chamber celebrated with a ribbon cutting in July.
Birth to Five Illinois works in every community in the State to ensure local families, early childhood experts, and community members have a platform to say what is best for their children’s futures, according to Jones. They find out why families are not able to access early childhood services and tell decision-makers which services local families say their children need to thrive.
“Our goal is to ensure that all children and families in Grundy and Kendall counties have access to all services located in the region,” Jones said.
The Yorkville office employs three and opened in June 2022. Statewide the organization has almost 130 employees.
Birth to Five just completed an Early Childhood Regional Needs Assessment for Grundy and Kendall Counties that highlights the gaps in service delivery, as well as community-developed recommendations for how to meet families’ needs. In the next year, they will be gathering additional community input, creating an action plan based on the recommendations in the report, and expanding on its first-year analysis to include mental health supports for families and early educators.
They also will continue to amplify local needs as voiced by members of the community with state leadership to inform their funding priorities, build additional local partnerships to support the mission, and bring local residents together to address the needs within Grundy and Kendall Counties, she said.
“Sharkisha and her team are making sure the children of our communities are able to meet their full potential,” said Christina Van Yperen, Grundy Chamber President & CEO.
To arrange for a presentation on the assessment call Jones at 309-270-5699.
For more information on Birth to Five visit birthtofiveil.com/region24. For more information on the Grundy Chamber visit grundychamber.com.