BLOCKS - Babies Learning On Course for Kindergarten Success - United Way of West Georgia | Our Stories
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Our Stories

Every child reached is a life transformed:

Our accomplishments as an initiative are best told through individual stories from our agencies—every life improved by the work of an agency helps us see fulfillment of our mission. Read below for stories from individuals throughout our community.

Gail’s Success By 6 Story:

As the program coordinator of Success by 6, Gail Gordon works every day to ensure that young children in West Georgia enter school prepared to learn. With her vast experience—over 15 years teaching kindergarten in Coweta and Troup counties—she truly understands how critical the task before her is.

 

“So much of the brain is developed before a child even starts school. Parents are their children’s first teachers, and if they miss [these important first years of development], their children will start behind. I’ve taught kindergarten; I’ve seen it. It’s so hard to catch those children up.”

 

To help more children get ready for school, Gail, her assistant teacher Pam, and her volunteers and partners work hard to reach parents and children at a young age in a variety of ways.

 

Collaborating with Troup County School District, child development centers, community organizations, local government and others, Success by 6 leads a number of different programs to promote the healthy development of all children from conception through age five.

 

Through these programs—the Letter of the Week Class, Summer Play, a Weekly Reader program, childcare provider mentorship, and book distribution—Gail aims to help children reach learning milestones. However, she believes the most important part of her job is reaching these children’s parents, helping them prepare to be their child’s first teacher.

 

Since plenty of parents think education starts at kindergarten, Gail faces a challenging task. To demonstrate to parents how important early learning is, she’ll grab an actual sponge and pour green-dyed water into it. The way that sponge soaks up the green water and is transformed is exactly what their young child’s brain is doing—absorbing every action around them, being dramatically changed by simple but engaging interactions.

 

Luckily, this connection with parents is Gail’s favorite part of her job.

 

She’s constantly sharing examples of behaviors parents can do at home to help their children’s brains develop. From demonstrating cheap and easy activities at the Letter of the Week class, to teaching them how to make laundry time a fun learning experience (“Which shirt is bigger—yours or daddy’s?”), Gail is giving parents an opportunity to experience something truly exciting—seeing the moment when a light bulb comes on in their child’s mind.

 

Through this work, Gail and her team have seen some incredible transformations:

 

  • A little girl and her mother came all year to the Letter of the Week class, and though the child enjoyed herself, she wouldn’t let her mom leave her side. After a week of crying while separated from her mom at Summer Play, a month-long literacy enrichment program held in partnership with Maidee Smith Early Care and Learning Center and CLCP, this little girl began to have fun alone. She developed a new confidence that led her to come back to the Letter of the Week class the next year acting almost as a teacher.

 

  • The special education department of the Troup County School System and Babies Can’t Wait have referred students with disabilities to the Letter of the Week Class. One little boy with a tracheostomy tube began his time at the class very isolated. After just two weeks, he was much more interactive and increasingly verbal, having fun and interacting with others.

 

These are just a couple of examples of lives touched by Gail and her team of partners and volunteers. Each year, Success by 6 expands their reach in the community. With Gail in the lead, they continue to actively pursue opportunities to reach, engage, and educate more and more children in parents in West Georgia, creating new transformations each day.