Provider Spotlight – Jessica is a parent and provider with insight into the daily challenges of parents, children, and the ECE Workforce!

Jessica is a provider in our fellowship with a wealth of knowledge and resources! She has been at Rising Sun Learning Center since 2019 and has been in the ECE and child development space since 2016. Jessica is a strong advocate, and we are blessed to have her in our fellowship. Read more about Jessica below!

How did you become an advocate for early childhood education? 

I have always been one to take up a cause that pulls at my heartstrings. So when I adopted my children, my heart was not just pulled but dragged through the broken world that is Foster Care. During our time navigating through the MO Child Welfare System, I saw that children needed a bigger voice than the one they had. In 2019, I found myself at a career crossroads where I was presented with an opportunity to work in the Early Childhood environment. I again saw a need for children and those who support them while they are in the critical years of 0-5. Less than a year into my tenure, the pandemic shined a bright light on a community fighting to protect not only the children but also the workforce of early childhood education. To say I could not stay quiet was an understatement. 

Why do you think it’s important to be an advocate as a provider?

I am privileged to get to see both sides of the coin as a provider. I have insight into the daily challenges of the parents, children, the ECE Workforce, and program management. With that knowledge, I feel that not only are we responsible for changing the trajectory of MO’s ECE system but we are the ones who can advise on what does and doesn’t support the end goal of quality ECE options in our state. 

Why should Missouri invest more in child care and early education?

There is so much data and science showing that quality ECE programs ensure that young children have a strong foundation that will result in higher long-term success in school and life. Investing in ECE is not just investing in ECE. It’s an investment in the future of Missouri, in our workforce, in our economy, and in our citizens. 

In one sentence, what does the ideal child care and early education system look like for Missouri families?

The ideal early childhood environment would support providers and give parents a choice in their child(ren)’s education. 

What is one thing you’ve learned about advocacy that you’d like to share with others?

To achieve the change we want to see, we have to remember that Advocacy is a marathon, not a sprint.

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