SBCS secures $300,000 grant to study long-term impact of Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool program
South Bay Community Services will study the long-term impact of specialized support and early childhood education for children who have been traumatized by family violence with recently awarded funding from Blue Shield of California Foundation. The $300,000 grant will enable evaluation of the academic performance and social well-being of children served at SBCS’ Mi Escuelita Therapeutic Preschool into their middle school years.
The outside evaluation will continue research SBCS conducted in 2013 in partnership with UC San Diego that tracked the educational and behavioral outcomes of Mi Escuelita graduates from kindergarten through third grade. The evaluation found that students continued to thrive into elementary school.
“We are grateful for the generous funding support from Blue Shield of California Foundation that will enable us to continue to evaluate Mi Escuelita’s foundational impact on its young graduates as they navigate the challenging waters of middle school,” said Kathryn Lembo, president and CEO of South Bay Community Services. “We are optimistic that this grant will enable us to underscore how students benefit from the high-quality services they received at Mi Escuelita many years into childhood so that we can continue to expand the program beyond our four classrooms and reach more young lives affected by violence.”
SBCS is currently in the process of selecting an evaluator for the study.
Children who have been exposed to domestic violence are more likely than their peers to experience a wide range of difficulties that affect their development, education and health. Mi Escuelita offers a free, year-round, full-day therapeutic preschool designed especially for children ages 3-5 affected by domestic violence and abuse, many of whom are in foster care or living in SBCS’ domestic violence shelters and transitional housing sites. The goal of the program is to help these vulnerable children heal and begin along the right path for school so that they can enter kindergarten ready to learn, thereby increasing their chances of healthy long-term development free from the destructive cycle of violence and abuse.
Mi Escuelita began as a one-classroom project in partnership with the First 5 Commission of San Diego County and Chula Vista Elementary School District in 2006. Administrators saw the need for a timely intervention to support families with child victims who were entering kindergarten already behind their peers and experiencing exacerbated negative outcomes as they aged. Over the past 14 years, Mi Escuelita has grown into a four-classroom site based on need within the community and evidence of tremendous growth among graduates.
Blue Shield of California Foundation builds lasting and equitable solutions that make California the healthiest state and end domestic violence. We believe that when we work together to address the root causes of poor health and violence, we can improve the health and well-being of all Californians and create a future full of possibility.
We look forward to sharing the progress of the study and program.