2022 was a milestone year in Horizons’ history, thanks to you. We celebrated one full year in our Edgerley Family Horizons Center, where children aged two months to five years received comprehensive early childhood education while their parents worked towards a better future for their families.
Massachusetts has the third highest number of families experiencing homelessness in the country, with a child poverty rate that is twice the national average. As such, our work has never been more important. Here are just a few of the ways Horizons has worked to change the life trajectory of hundreds of families, and the accomplishments we are proud to celebrate:
Improving Child Outcomes:
- Our enhanced STEM curriculum is unlocking a lifelong curiosity about science, technology and engineering. For the past year, preschoolers have been learning the language of coding through programmable KIBO robots.
- Horizons provided over 78,000 nutritional meals to children (breakfast, hot lunch, and snacks) in our early education center.
- Over 650 Playspace Activity Leaders (PALs) volunteered 14,481 hours of play to children living in 52 shelters throughout the state. Playspace staff conducted over 50 workshops with parents living in shelters to deepen the parent-child bond.
Empowering Parental Growth:
- More than 225 families enrolled in Mobility Mentoring® and are actively working toward financial independence, stable housing, and sustainable career goals with their dedicated Family Advocates.
- Our new partnership with Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program made both physical and mental healthcare more accessible to Horizons’ families than ever before. Knowing the toll facing homelessness takes on families – from increased sickness and infections to higher rates of anxiety and depression – the clinic’s accessibility within our building is vital to the families in our care.
- Our ongoing partnerships helped deepen our work statewide. Working in collaboration with Boston Children’s Museum, Horizons’ Playspace team launched parent-child playgroups throughout local shelters.
Strengthening Our Organization:
- At the start of 2022, we adjusted our pay scales to align more closely with educator salaries in the K-12 system. Historically, early educators have been paid 36% less than K-12 teachers.
- The pay scale changes made each teacher salaried and more accurately reflects the value of our teams’ vital work and the unique, trauma-informed skills they bring to it.
- This change also made pay scales more inclusive and equitable for our workforce, as 70% of our teaching staff identify as People of Color or Hispanic/Latino.
- NAEYC Accreditation correlates with children’s greater readiness and success in school and beyond; increased educational attainment rates; and overall positive health outcomes related to nutrition and access to outdoor experiences.
Making a Broader Impact:
- Horizons successfully received $300,000 in state funding to support the re-opening of Playspaces and the growth of our successful parenting support workshops across shelters statewide.
- The Commonwealth’s program for helping families avoid eviction, RAFT, saw a notable increase of 18% in the FY23 budget compared to the year before.
- The Lift Our Kids coalition, of which Horizons is a proud member, worked hard to win a 10% grant increase for Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) to help families combat record-high inflation.
Your partnership, dedication, and remarkable support helps make our work possible. At Horizons, our two-generation model – working with both parent and child – is leading the charge to break the cycle of family homelessness in our state. Thank you for investing in Horizons families!
We are so grateful to our community and hope you will visit our Early Education Center in the new year to see your impact firsthand. Be sure to save the date for our upcoming Spring Gala!