As a retired educator who worked in the Bellingham school district for most of my career, I have met many incredible students and families.
One family stands out – a mother with four young children ages one to eight, who was fleeing domestic violence – living in their car on the north side of town.
Mom was working so hard to get back on her feet, but needed a little bit of help. Family liaison staff was able to secure housing, which allowed the older boys to enroll in school, and mom quickly found work. Soon, the younger boys enrolled in pre-K.
Without that early intervention, those boys would have been far behind their peers and struggled through school just to catch-up. I’m glad to share that all four children are doing extremely well in school to this day (the oldest is now in high school).
Mom was able to save enough money to buy her own home and the boys are thriving thanks to her deep love and commitment and the support of many from the community who have loved and cared for them.
These boys now have a very promising future ahead of them and will undoubtedly be huge contributors to our community.By many measures, this family could have had a different path, but they were fortunate enough to meet the right people who could help.
Many in our community have not been so fortunate and have tragically slipped through the cracks. Proposition 5 will put an end to this by making access to early childhood support intentional and available to all children in our community.
As a community, we can do better, and that’s why I am asking you to vote yes for Whatcom Kids, Prop 5.
Mount Vernon (Nearly 40-year resident
I am writing in support of a yes vote for Proposition 5 “The Healthy Children’s Fund” because I see it as a critical
It is an investment in our current working families, who are having a difficult time balancing financial needs against supporting their children’s emotional and intellectual development.
It is an investment in the community’s infrastructure that will provide money, incentives, and support for creating badly needed additional childcare slots for our pre-kindergarten children.
It is an investment in each child, who can compound a greater lifetime of achievement as they enter school ready to build on the educational milestones they have already achieved.
You do not have to look far in our community to find parents who cannot work the schedules they need because they cannot find the childcare required, or employers that cannot hire the employees they need because those employees are parents juggling childcare.
You also don’t have to look far in our community to see people who have been left behind through inadequate education, difficult personal circumstances, and poor personal choices.
Education is the greatest single investment that moves people up the rungs of society’s social and economic ladder, and the sooner the compounding effect of an educational investment can begin the greater the long-term return for both our children and our community.
Bryant J. Engebretson
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