Last week saw another important win for the #FundEverything movement when Commerce City, Colorado announced a new program to provide families with up to $1,600 per child for childcare and educational expenses.

The win was a key part of a campaign by Transform Education Now (TEN) to give Colorado families direct aid to meet the educational needs of students in this new era. The TEN team is now working hard to both ensure as many families as possible–particularly Spanish-speaking households–are taking advantage of the program and also bring this model to other communities across the region. 

TEN, a local campaign in the 50CAN network led by co-Executive Directors Ariel Taylor Smith and Nicholas Martinez, spent the summer making hundreds of phone calls and listening to families. “We learned very quickly that the most immediate need was access to support and resources for childcare and virtual learning,” said Smith. With that knowledge in hand, the team identified where funds were available, introduced the concept, and then worked closely with the city and county to roll out the program. 

This win comes on the heels of another exciting victory for families by TEN in Colorado. In early September, the Adams 12 school district approved learning pods as an in-person option for families. Under the program, children can now attend small group, in-person learning environments facilitated by one adult, while each child learns virtually from instructors at their own pace. This is a great way to provide an in-person option for families while offering additional safeguards against the spread of Covid-19. 

“We need more of this kind of innovation throughout Colorado,” said Nicholas Martinez. “Families are being stifled by the bureaucracy and the back and forth swings of Covid-19. The families of Adams County are getting direct, real and innovative assistance in this crisis. All Colorado families deserve the same.”

Vallay Varro was a founding state executive director. She now serves as the president of 50CAN.


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