THE SECRET GARDEN GALA 2022 BREAKS RECORD ATTENDANCE!

Returning to an in-person event after our 2020 virtual edition was a big task to ensure the safety of ourselves and our guests. Couple that with record breaking attendance, and the task became monumental. However, with the help of many volunteers and our staff, we managed to make a safe and unforgettable evening at the Dixie Convention Center where good times were had by all.

The Secret Garden Gala 2022 took place on Saturday, June 25, 2022, at the Dixie Convention Center with the support of 21 sponsors and 275 guests. This was our first year at the new venue, as we had outgrown our previous spaces. The new accommodations proved to be essential for the spirited silent and live auctions, raffle, catered dinner and main program- with some very special guests. See how The Secret Garden Gala 2022 came to life.

The Main Program

At 5 PM we began our social hour and started the silent auction. Dinner was served soon after, and Tyler Hunsaker and Fred Walker, our returning Emcees, welcomed the crowd. We were then offered an insightful message from our past Board President, Dr. Ellen Arch. Our annual awards followed afterward and led right into a very special video about our work here at Root for Kids, which you can watch here. As if emotions weren’t running high enough after that, we then had a special performance by Madi’s All Star Dance Group that brought absolute joy to the audience. Closing the night, an absolutely raucous live auction that raised money for our enrolled families at Root for Kids.

 

 The Awards

We couldn’t be more honored to recognize our award winners for The Secret Garden Gala 2022:

  • Outstanding Community Partner: Associated General Contractors
  • Outstanding Business: InfoWest
  • Outstanding Health Partner: Jeremy & Laurie Scholzen
  • Outstanding Volunteer: Dixie State University Nursing Program
  • Outstanding Donor: Larry R Hansen
  • Debbie Justice Legacy Award: US Representative, V. Lowry Snow

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for the continued and enduring support you give to support our mission at Root for Kids. 

 

 

A Huge Thanks

We had some massive help making the event such a successful night. Our friends Fred Walker and Tyler Hunsaker served as the emcees for the night, providing lively commentary and some big laughs. Leslie and Ralph from the Dixie Convention Center coordinated and decorated our event flawlessly. Kris Archer from Bougie Balloons added some serious flair by bringing in ornate balloons and décor for display. And finally, our staff who worked tirelessly up to the last minute. Everyone who worked behind the scenes made the Garden Room picturesque from floor to ceiling and deserves a huge thanks!

What’s Next?

Our 2nd annual Glow-in-the-Dark Golf Tournament is right around the corner, happening on Friday, October 21, 2022. Golfers will enjoy 18 holes of golf, 9 holes during the day and 9 holes after sunset. Golfer can purchase mulligans and raffle tickets, and will enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner and a bag of glow in the dark swag.

If you are interested in taking part, we will be putting tickets on-sale soon. If you are interested in sponsoring our event, please contact Monica Jones at events@rootforkids.org or at (435) 673-5353.


Parents and policies can affect how a child thrives

Deseret News

March 4, 2022

A recent article in the Deseret News shares a recipe for cultivating strong children with better opportunities for a great future. The recipe includes advice and tips for parents, communities and policy makers to help give children the best possible head start in life.

 

How Parents and Policies play a role in helping young kids thrive.

Children that live in a loving two parent home that are provided for both physically and mentally have a better chance at an easier life. Kids in these homes are more likely to have adequate shelter, creative outlets, quality family time and unconditional love which increases their odds of having a successful life. 

Cynthia Osborne, a professor of  Early Childhood Education and Policy at Vanderbilt University says that these vital gifts from parents are not enough for kids to thrive. Osborne says society needs to provide gifts also, that include family friendly policies that help children to excel in their environment.  Osborne believes that policies that help families, especially those that are struggling, are both generous and self-serving if one believes that children are a societal gift and they will repay any investments made to them. She goes on to say, “children will shape our country’s economy, entrepreneurial landscape and competitiveness; they will drive the future workforce and policies”.

Working moms and child care subsidies

Every child needs a stable home, health care, food and safety as the foundation for their well-being. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation children also need other protections, including proven policies to aid families with very young children, especially families with economic and other challenges. These protections will help to ensure a great future for children. 

Osborne knows that getting a child’s early years (prenatal to 3) right, is very important, because it will predict a lifetime of health and well-being. During this very young age children begin to develop their sense of self, they grow confident or fearful depending on their circumstances and they form relationships that will help to shape further relationships in their lives. Every child should have the opportunity to be born healthy and raised in a stable, nurturing and stimulating environment with limited exposure to adversity. 

The article references research which states that in order for babies to be successful from the very onset, their parents need resources and skills to help them nurture their babies. Prenatal care is one resource that helps parents get ready to have healthy babies. Other resources include policies and strategies to help states attain well-child goals.

The 2019 Bureau of Labor Services report indicates 6 out 10 women are working moms with school-age children, these moms are working due to economic necessity.  Researchers are trying to help working moms by advocating for affordable quality health insurance and a liveable wage. Four states have implemented these policies to help families (California, Washington D. C., Maryland and New Jersey) with subsidized child care so kids are safe while their parents are at work or in school. These states offer comprehensive screenings, connections to programs if needed, home visit programs, early head start, early intervention programs and prenatal care. 

The article emphasizes the importance of child care by saying if parents do not have a safe, affordable and quality daycare option, then parents may not be able to work as a means to provide a better life for their children.

Osborne goes on to say, “We’re paying a lot of attention to implementations because just having a policy on the books if no one is using it, if it’s not generous enough, if it’s difficult to access, may not be as effective. You may not be getting the returns that you would be expecting or making the impact on well being.”

Strong Child Development Goals

The number of people that understand the importance of the 0-3 year range is increasing, but currently there is very little guidance to help improve outcomes for this age group, says Osborne. 

The Vanderbilt University Prenatal-to-3 Impact Center is not only focusing on child development but also prioritizing healthy births, access to services, physical and emotional health of parents, a parents ability to work and working on a strong parent-child relationship. 

Osbourne claims that the needs of children cross all income levels but policies usually target the socioeconomic disadvantages of children of color and of those of lower socioeconomic status. Those families are less likely to have a stable income or access to paid time off for things such as family illness or bonding with a very young child. The fact is that higher-income households are more likely to get the help they need while middle class families are stuck between having too much or not enough. 

How States Help Their Families

According to Osbourne, many states have already independently taken steps to help families. Some states are investing substantially in childcare and expanding eligibility for subsidies, which in the long run increases the size of the workforce. Other states have implemented paid family leave for working families and others will raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour. 

Boosting Fertility

The birth rate in America has decreased, many experts believe it’s due to the cost of child care. With the threat of having smaller new generations and economic stagnation, there are child care subsidies which could help. There are many different financial challenges that will make couples either not have children or prolong the occurrence, this is a concern for policymakers because delaying or foregoing having children has significant consequences to society. The 2021 American Family Survey found that 17% of the people surveyed said if they could get child benefits from the government, their willingness in having a child or more children would increase.  

Osborne says, when investing in early intervention programs, children are better prepared to attend school, the rate of child retention in school decreases as does the need for special education funds. Investing in parents’ ability to work will financially increase how a parent is able to provide for their children which decreases the need for government assistance. 

In closing Osbourne says, “What I wish is that policymakers could understand that there are both immediate and long-term benefits to investing in young children and their parents’ in terms of cognitive development, in learning and socioemotional development and physical health. And those benefits last a lifetime.” 

We maintain the best way to cultivate strong, healthy, successful children is through collaboration with parents, communities and policymakers. It is essential that we invest in parents and their children when they are young to ensure optimal growth in our investments. We must share the understanding that an early investment in children and their families is an investment in them but also an investment in ourselves, our communities, our economy and our country.


What Families Have to Say About Kindermusik

Our Kindermusik classes are the perfect way to introduce music and movement to the young and developing minds. Child and caregiver have the opportunity to bond and connect through rhythm in easy and fun ways, led by the Kindermusik teachers. See what families have to say about Kindermusik at Root for Kids!

WE LOVE KINDERMUSIK!

“Our littles had a rough start in life and both exhibited developmental issues. They started Kindermusik at 2 and 3 years old and it has been a godsend.  The program is fantastic and there are not enough good words to describe the amazing teachers. Kindermusik is so much fun, the girls can’t wait for “music class” every week.  While they are playing and enjoying themselves, we have seen them gain personal and interactive social skills, as they connect with other children and engaged adults. 

We have seen huge improvements in impulse control, self regulation and communication skills.  The girls have learned songs, stories, dances and how to use dozens of different instruments and props.  They are learning the basic concepts of music using all of their senses, all while loving the music and the movement.  A little more than a year in Kindermusik and they have a never ending supply of songs to sing in the car!  Kindermusik has been a strong foundation for development in so many areas.  We look forward to our girls continuing to love Kindermusik for years to come.”

– L. Richards

Kindermusik - Rhythm

She loves exploring music

“Kindermusik has been so wonderful for Ruthie! She has done two semesters of the fundamentals class so far and loves exploring music with friends. I love that it helps her develop fantastic routines as well as improve social and motor skills and sensory acceptance. She absolutely loves teachers Madison and Marnie!” – Jordan P.

Kindermusik - Skills

I love everything about the program

“My daughter has now taken 2 semesters of Kindermusik. I love everything about the program, and how much it has helped her. We have struggled a lot in navigating her social and emotional development, which affects almost every aspect of her being able to interact with others and cope with an environment outside of the home. Kindermusik has provided her the opportunity to engage with other kids her age, as well as adults in a classroom type setting, without the pressure to perform or be away from Mom.

It has been a slow process, but she is now excited to “go sing” and it doesn’t take her nearly as long to warm up to her environment and participate. She now follows instruction and transitions from one activity to the next, whereas she wouldn’t previously participate in any sort of structure-based learning. She will interact with others, and doesn’t feel the need to be glued to my side for the entirety of the class. It may not sound like a big achievement for most, but I was overjoyed the first day she sat in my lap to engage in story time or willingly put her shoes on after class.

Kindermusik - Self esteem

She loves the music more than anything

I think music was the biggest draw for her progress. I will find her singing her favorite songs at home, and she’s thrilled when we join in on her fun. It helped immensely with her language and communication. She has also been given opportunities to engage with toys and instruments that she may not otherwise have the chance to use, which has been fantastic exposure for her sensory development. 
 
I greatly appreciate the instructors. They have been so patient with her, and welcome children of all levels and abilities. They have been flexible in finding the class that best suits her needs to thrive, and have worked to help broaden her boundaries, without pushing too far. 
 
We have had a wonderful experience with Kindermusik, and I’m grateful for the program and what is has done for my daughter. It has been a great precursor to help her prepare for Preschool, while also being a great Mom and Me activity that we can do together.” – Jenny D.
 
Our Kindermusik classes are held at our St. George studio (2044 S. Mesa Palms Drive – St. George, UT 84770) and we are enrolling! Sign up for classes today

2020 Root for Kids Awards

Every year, Root for Kids recognizes key partners and individuals in our community who go above and beyond to support our mission. Due to COVID-19, we delivered the awards to each awardee prior to our virtual gala. Meet the 2020 Root for Kids award recipients –

Outstanding Community Partner: Southern Utah Home Builders Association

SUHBA | 2020 Root for Kids Awards

Southern Utah Home Builders Care Foundation is a nonprofit charitable arm of Southern Utah Home Builders Association. They have come to our rescue in many ways by providing much needed construction related services. 

They are organized, dedicated, and have so much energy! We are happy and grateful they chose to help us. They came ready to serve as they made repairs to our main building, hung our main Root for Kids sign, laid concrete for our childcare trike path, and more improvement projects during the Southern Utah Home Builders Association for Service Days. We are grateful for this partnership and could not be happier to select them for such a well-deserved award.  

Outstanding Health Partner: Danyelle Evans

Danyelle Evans | 2020 Root for Kids Awards

Danyelle has been a part of the Root for Kids family since 2003, when she was a student at Dixie State University. During that time, Danyelle was instrumental in establishing dental clinic days for enrolled families and invited them to participate in “DSU Sealant Saturdays”. Now, 17 years later, this has transformed into personalized dental clinics twice a semester, and biannual dental sealant service days specifically for Root for Kids families.

Danyelle has been a guest speaker multiple times at our Early Head Start Parent Nights, providing education on the importance of oral health for children and pregnant women, and has donated oral supplies for participating parents. She has assisted us in writing grants for increased oral care screening and preventive care. Danyelle has been involved in our annual Gala and Radiothon, serving on our Events Committee, and securing sponsors and donations for the events. 

Outstanding Volunteer: Intermountain Healthcare – Dixie Regional Medical Center

DRMC  | 2020 Root for Kids Awards

To strengthen our partnership and to have a meaningful service opportunity in our community, a group of administrators and leaders from Intermountain Healthcare/Dixie Regional Medical Center organized a team of 25 healthcare leaders to volunteer with us. There was no job too small or too large for them. They colored, painted, glued, cut, made fishing kits, lacing kits, and other educational and play toys. Everyone was busy serving and we had so much fun having them over!

The team handles day to day admin responsibilities as leaders of the largest healthcare facility in Southern Utah and are heroes to many as they work for the benefit of our health. Thank you for your time, and for supporting our cause!

Outstanding Business: TDS Telecom

TDS Telecom  | 2020 Root for Kids Awards

Whether it is donating internet services, contributing hundreds of volunteer hours, or partnering to meet the critical needs of our community; TDS has a rich history with Root for Kids. Under the direction of Brenda Cody, Field Marketing Manager, TDS is not a business that sits back and waits idly for opportunities, but rather is proactive, innovative, and intentional in their approach to give back.

In response to COVID-19 Root for Kids opened a One Utah Childcare program which provided free childcare for essential personnel such as health care workers and first responders. TDS quickly stepped up to the plate and made a significant financial contribution in addition to donating personal protective equipment, diapers, formula, and educational materials to ensure the safety and well being of some of our most vulnerable populations.

Outstanding Donor: Bob Richards & Associates

Bob Richards and Associates  | 2020 Root for Kids Awards

Bob Richards is known as a pillar in our community. A man of integrity, service, and leadership. “Consider it done” is not just Bob’s slogan, it is his standard, value, and his way of life. With a thoughtful understanding of the needs of our families Bob showed up at our agency with a smile on his face and a truck load of diapers. What started out as a very thoughtful gesture has now turned into an annual tradition. Bob’s generosity has been evidenced repeatedly and his contributions continue to amaze us.

This past year Bob not only showed up with a truck load of diapers, but to our surprise was pulling a trailer with diapers stacked to the ceiling. Over the past four years Bob has saved our agency thousands of dollars which has allowed us to serve more children and families in our community. 

Debbie Justice Legacy Award: Jennifer Neal Madsen

Jennifer Neal Madsen  | 2020 Root for Kids Awards

The Debbie Justice Legacy Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated, encouraged, and exemplified actions that have enriched our organization’s integrity as well as impacted the lives of the many children and families we serve. It is with great appreciation and admiration that I present this year’s Debbie Justice Legacy Award to Jennifer Neal Madsen.

While dabbling in the arena of construction this past year I witnessed a process in build design that I truly believe describes Jenn’s example and value to me personally and to our organization. Sometimes an existing joist, which was designed to handle a certain load, becomes compromised. When a builder needs to strengthen that joist, she puts a new member right next to the original one and fastens the two together. They call this a sister joist. You cannot build a strong beautiful complicated structure, whether it is a building or a life, without sistering. Consistently for the past five years Jenn has demonstrated sistering. With her self-commitment to Root for Kids as a past board president, current vice president, donor, and friend.

We are grateful for the many businesses and community members that help us nurture strong beginnings in Washington County and the Arizona Strip. Join us on December 14, 2020 for our Drive-Thru Radiothon!