Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Start Here for Early Learning Resources; Coalition's New Website Gives Families a Road Map to Information

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Start Here for Early Learning Resources; Coalition's New Website Gives Families a Road Map to Information

Article excerpt

Byline: Tessa Duvall

Families of Jacksonville's youngest residents now have a one-stop-shop online resource for information on all things early learning.

The Early Learning Coalition of Duval launched its new website, EarlyLearningJax.org, on Friday, a site that provides information on a variety of topics relating to children ages 5 and under, including child care, early learning, health and development.

Duval is the first of Florida's coalitions to provide a resource like this, and ELC of Duval President and CEO Susan Main said she now anticipates others will want to follow suit when they see the value in the website.

"This isn't the solution to early learning," Main said "It's a start, and it also gives parents and families an opportunity to find some information and they can go off on their own and get further information on topics they're interested in."

Chad Sykes-Burns, the group's director of communications, said organizations that serve kids and families in Duval County are doing good work, but the community isn't always aware of those services or how to access them. The website is meant to fill that void by connecting families to the information they need.

"We're not trying to be all things to all people," he said. "We're trying to give you a place to start to get to where you need to go."

The idea for the website grew out of the recommendations from Jacksonville Community Council Inc.'s Children 1-2-3 study in 2012, which examined how the community can better foster early learning success, as well as the ELC's strategic plan.

"It really meshed well with our own goals of our board, as for what we need to do in this community," Main said.

The website, which has been in development for about 15 months, is supported by a $135,000 three-year grant from the Chartrand Family Foundation and the Community Foundation, Sykes-Burns said. …

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