Provider Spotlight – Leslie is a former teacher and current childcare provider and advocate!

Leslie is a childcare provider in Kansas City. She operates the Red Bridge Early Childhood Center. They are a ministry of Red Bridge United Methodist Church. She has been there for 19 years and before that, taught grades K-2 for six years. Leslie became a provider fellow in 2022 and wants to encourage other providers to get involved with advocacy! Learn more about Leslie below.

How did you become an advocate for early childhood education? 

I became an advocate when I became involved as a provider for the Kids Win Missouri team.

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

Advocacy is important because our representatives in Congress need to understand the complexity of child care in Missouri and how their decisions impact our programs, families, and teachers.

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

Missouri should invest in child care because it is essential to our families and workforce. Businesses will not operate if parents can’t find high-quality, affordable childcare options. Investing in early childhood education is essential because our children are our future! There is a tremendous amount of brain development that takes place from birth to five years old. Children need multiple opportunities to play, explore, grow, move, and learn during these years. Investing in early education includes investing in the people providing it. Teachers and caregivers deserve competitive wages, opportunities for training and education in the field as well as benefits.

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

The ideal childcare and early education system would involve many high-quality, affordable options for families, including full-time, part-time, in-home, and faith-based organizations that work together to meet Missouri’s children’s needs.

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

Don’t be afraid to get involved! Our state representatives are open to hearing about our challenges in early childhood and ideas for solutions in this field. They are here to represent us and to support us.

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