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CECI offers public thank you for year-end giving

By KERRA COOK - | Jan 26, 2021

The Children’s Education Center of the Islands has a lot to be thankful for in this new year. The year of 2020 has brought a lot of change, growth and evolution for the organization. Despite the coronavirus and its repercussions, the center’s efforts to enhance its nature-based educational offerings while supporting the young families within our community are being noticed and, more importantly, are providing necessary support to our community during this challenging time.

Registration levels are on the rise as are the number of students being assisted from deserving working families. The center is receiving stellar feedback on educational outcomes and its nature-based approach. Its philosophy as a nature preschool is to forge a bond between children and nature, so that they will grow to care and love for it as adults. Now, even more so, the CECI’s approach to learning connects children and families to the natural world in ways that are crucial for individual well-being and for the future of our sanctuary island.

Short of their $50,000 year-end fundraising goal, CECI leadership is heartened by the positive outpouring of community support which brought in nearly $20,000 in only one month. We are grateful and wish to extend a public thank you to all of our donors. Your contributions — whether it be $25 or $10,000 — all greatly impact our children, our families and the future of our island. We hope that we can count on each of you for your continued support as this unprecedented time continues. We are especially grateful for the overwhelming generosity of Marty and Brenda Harrity, David and Ellen Raisbeck, and the Merrill Family Charitable Foundation.

The CECI is also ever-grateful for the continuous support of The Sanctuary Golf Club Foundation. The granting of $25,00 for the scholarship program has allowed the center to grant 25 percent of its students with financial assistance this year. With many working families in need of financial assistance, the foundation has been crucial in the organization being able to financially assist families in their time of need.

While it remains shy of the immediate funding levels required to continue its mission, the strong start kicks off a year of active engagement and fundraising for the organization. To tackle 2021 operational shortfalls and continual repairs for its aging buildings, the CECI has a funding goal of $140,000 for 2021, in addition to budgeted tuition. Additionally, the center is establishing a building fund to aid it in maintaining and improving its historic island facility. And, the CECI remains dedicated to raising scholarship funds — in excess of its operational needs — to allow it to teach and connect more young children and families to nature within our community.

The CECI will be debuting new 2021 sponsorship opportunities and a variety of fundraising and community activities, virtual and otherwise, in the coming months. For additional information on how you and your organization can be involved, contact center Executive Director Kerra Cook at 239-472-4538 or visit www.childrenseducationcenter.com.

Kerra Cook is the executive director of the Children’s Education Center of the Islands.