We are a Charity that serves young children of ages 3 to 5 years who are ‘at risk’. Most suffer developmental delays of up to 90% in areas of behavior, gross and fine motor skills, speech and language, etc. Most have no neurological impairments.
Nearly 20 years ago, Founder Ilona Boyce saw that something more was needed for children from backgrounds of poverty and trauma. Young children, ages 3-5, who came from families challenged by neglect, abuse or poverty were often left behind. These children were, on average, 70 to 90 percent delayed in normal development. Living in a constant state of stress and fear, their brains were not receptive to learning, so they continued to fall behind. Left without help, these children wandered the school halls by Grade 3, their window of learning severely compromised.
At EvenStart, we provide a safe place for a child “to be”….
Our place is predictable, establishes boundaries and where we understand that the most important work we do is form the relationship with each child. It is through the relationship that a child learns to trust. It is then that we teach about the alphabet, about letter and numbers and regular school things. But our teaching goes beyond that….we must also teach problem solving and making good choices.
We also teach our children how to get by in the world in which they were born and that includes things like learning that shovels in a sandbox can be tools to build things. They are not always weapons.
We provide an abundance of food because these children are always hungry.
But most of all, we build our relationship with the child. It is through the relationship that change begins. Change that teaches a child …
To use his words, instead of his fists.
To reach out, in trust, not fear to another adult in his life.
To understand, it is okay to grieve for that which has been lost.
And we do this with respect for each child’s family. At Evenstart, we have not met one parent, who wasn’t simply another human being who needed to count, who needed to be recognized for what they were, rather than what they were not.
Their children, mirror their own realities. Their struggle to protect and provide is a reflection of never having been cared for and protected themselves.
Parents or our EvenStart children are often these same children grown up without help. They can plagued with depression, poverty, substance abuse and sometime mental illness. They cannot give, what they haven’t got.
It is our hope that, with your help, we can begin to break this cycle for the next generation of children.