Giving Tuesday: Preserving a Lifeline

For Karl and Michael Martinez, Wonderspring’s school age
program for virtual learners was a lifeline

Michael Martinez began attending Wonderspring’s before- and after-school program at Ridge Park when he was in Kindergarten. From the very beginning, his father Karl could see the positive impact the program was having on his son.
 
“Before starting at Wonderspring, Michael didn’t have a lot of friends,” says Karl. “He was extremely shy and used to stay off to the side on his own. But at Wonderspring he started making friends and since then, he’s made leaps and bounds socially. He joins groups, plays games and takes part in activities. So much of that progress is due to the program at Wonderspring.”
 
Karl, a single parent who works as a recruiter, was always grateful for the quality of care his son received at Wonderspring and for the attentive staff who helped nurture his son’s social development. But this fall, that gratitude magnified exponentially.
 
“When the pandemic hit and everything closed, I was home trying to juggle working and teaching my son,” he says. “It was a nightmare for both of us. I wasn’t getting much work done and I wasn’t doing a great job helping him. Then when I had to go back to the office, the Colonial school district announced they were going to open 100 percent virtual. I really didn’t know what I was going to do. Thank God Wonderspring offered the online virtual support program. It has been an absolute lifesaver.
 
“The program has allowed us both to get back into normal routine. Michael felt like he was back at school learning with other kids and I was able to go back work and be productive. I can’t tell you how much of a help that has been. “
 
While learning virtually was initially a bit of an adjustment, Karl says Michael adapted quickly and that the teachers at Wonderspring have been incredibly supportive. “When Michael’s school-issued device stopped working Leandra was able help him get a replacement right away,” he says.
 
And overall, Michael is happier. “When we were stuck at home, he was so isolated,” says Karl. “The only people he saw were on Zoom. Going back to Wonderspring, he really appreciated that he could socialize and be around kids his age. He’s even made some new friends.”

You can be a lifeline to a family like Michael’s. Make a donation to our Scholarship Fund and help ensure all children have the benefit of high-quality care.

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Help Expand Access to High-Quality Early Education and Care

2020 has been a challenging year in so many ways. But each day at Wonderspring, we find new reasons to smile. Whether it is watching a child take his first steps or read her first words or make a discovery through exploratory play, we find joy in watching children develop and grow. 
 
This year as we approach Giving Tuesday, we’re going to share some of the many stories that illustrate the impact that Wonderspring has had on children and families throughout the region as well as why our donors support Wonderspring. We hope that these stories will inspire you to help us expand access to high-quality early education and care to more children by contributing to our scholarship fund.
 
This year, the need for scholarship funds is greater than ever. But your tax deductible gift can help make sure we don’t have to turn children away. What’s more, our Giving Tuesday Sponsor Exude is helping to match donations we receive. 
 
To make a donation to our Harwood Scholarship Fund, simply click the button below. Thank you for your support of Wonderspring and our mission as a non-profit to help families thrive by providing safe, convenient, and highest quality learning opportunities and care for children in Greater Philadelphia.

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Wonderspring embarks on critical diversity, equity and inclusion work

As a nonprofit that strives to ensure access to high-quality learning and care to all children, Wonderspring is committed to advancing diversity equity and inclusion both in our employment practices as well as our services for children. Thus, we are thrilled to announce that with the support of the William Penn Foundation, Wonderspring is working with two Diversity Fellows from Temple University’s Diversifying Early Education Leadership program (DEEL@Temple). Our new Fellows will to assist the organization in achieving its goals of:
  •  nurturing a culture of diversity equity and inclusion among staff
  • supporting teaching practices that acknowledge and respect multiple cultures, languages and practices in the classroom
  • proactively recruiting and developing the talents of ethnically diverse persons for administrative and leadership positions.

We are thrilled to welcome Diversity Fellows Sophia Ezomoghene and Omosi Anabui.

Sophia Ezomoghene is a lead early childhood literacy specialist for the Free Library of Philadelphia. She began her career in education as an AmeriCorps volunteer at an alternative high school serving older and underserved students. Later she taught prekindergarten and kindergarten at a charter school in Washington, DC. Before joining the Free Library of Philadelphia, she was a Head Start teacher for the School District of Philadelphia. Sophia earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science and International Affairs from Northeastern University, as well as her Master’s in Education from American University. 

Omosi Anabui is an Impact Manager at City Year Philadelphia where much of her work is focused on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. She guides a team of 12 young adults looking to create equitable interventions spaces that enable students who attend Forrest Elementary School to have critical conversations about race and other parts of identity. Omosi has a Bachelor’s degree in Biopsychology and has served as an Americorps Member and Team Leader.

As we embark on this critical effort, we will be soliciting the input of our families and stakeholders. We look forward to working together to ensure all voices are heard and that all of our children, families and staff are valued and engaged.

 

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Wonderspring Names Zakiyyah Boone Interim CEO

 

Narberth, PA–Wonderspring Early Education, a nonprofit provider of high-quality, safe, convenient, and affordable early childhood education throughout Greater Philadelphia, has named Zakiyyah Boone Interim Chief Executive Officer.

Boone, who previously served as the organization’s Chief Program Officer, has more than 20 years of experience as an early childhood and youth development professional. Prior to joining Wonderspring, she served as Vice President of Early Childhood at the Greater Philadelphia YMCA where she managed a budget of $20M, identified growth and partnership opportunities and ensured the appropriateness of facilities to deliver high-quality programs. She has cut the ribbon on 10 child care centers and launched multiple evidence-based youth development programs across the Greater Philadelphia region.

Boone holds a BS in Elementary Education from Millersville University and an MBA from Kaplan University. As a mother of three, she personally understands the impact that high-quality early education can have on children and families, especially with a high-quality childcare provider such as Wonderspring.

“We are thrilled that Zakiyyah will be stepping into the role of Interim CEO,” said Surge Ghosh, President of Wonderspring’s Board of Directors. “She is an energetic, creative and passionate leader whose extensive experience and innovation will be an asset to Wonderspring moving forward.”

Boone replaces Ann O’Brien who has left the organization to pursue a new opportunity. “Ann has been a guiding force at Wonderspring for the last six years and has been instrumental in stabilizing the organization’s finances, expanding Wonderspring’s partnerships, advocating for the child care sector, and building a strong management team. We wish her the very best in her new endeavor,” said Ghosh.

While Wonderspring has been closed during the COVID-19 crisis, the organization continues to pay its teachers who are actively engaging students and families through phone, email, videos, and social media.  “The COVID-19 crisis has been difficult for all organizations and businesses. However, we believe that with our capable administrative team, amazing center directors and incredible teachers, we will weather this storm and emerge stronger than ever.” says Ghosh.

“Since arriving at Wonderspring, I have been so inspired by the commitment of our teachers and center directors to the children and families we serve,” says Boone. “I look forward to when we can welcome all of our students back to our classrooms and am excited about what the future holds.”

 

 

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