VOCEL first encountered Javier Arriola-Lopez, the principal of Carson Elementary School on Chicago’s southwest side, last spring when we pitched our program to him as a possibility for families at Carson.

VOCEL provides education for our youngest learners and support for their parents and caregivers. We do this because science tells us a child’s brain is developing rapidly in the first few years of life—more than a million new neural connections forming per second.These early years of life have a profound impact on the trajectory of a child’s future.

Yet, often during this critical early stage, many children and parents lack access to quality early learning programs. As a result, nearly three quarters of children in Illinois are entering kindergarten behind.

“Some school principals try to get any resource they can into their school to open doors for students,” Arriola-Lopez said after listening to our pitch, “but I’m selective. When I think about what resources and programs I want to bring into Carson, I think about opening big doors, the doors that are going to matter most.” Then, pointing to the VOCEL flyer, he concluded, “This is a program I want for our families at Carson.”

What Principal Javier Arriola-Lopez knows is that the investments we make in our youngest learners, and the people who support them, are the ones that will pay the greatest dividends. With your help, VOCEL will continue offering innovative programs that allow every child to learn, grow and lead.

VOCEL is located at 5317 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60651. To find out more about VOCEL and donate, go to vocel.org., or email us at info@vocel.org.

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