Fennie Community Fund
Legal-name: Precious Lamb Preschool
Previous-name: Erin E Wilson
Address: 2005 Palo Verde Ave PMB 301
City: Long Beach
Organizational-status: 501 (C) 3
Ranking-title: Lailanie Jones, Executive Director
First-name: Erin E Wilson
Title: Development Director
Textarea-499: The STEAM and Play-Based Field Trip and Experiences program for at-risk homeless students ages 18 months to five years old, through exploration, problem solving, and field trips designed to allow our students to engage in holistic, meaningful and lasting ways.
What-is-project: Precious Lamb seeks to increase STEAM experiences through field trips and curriculum, and play-based field trips for children who otherwise would not be able to go, largely due to costs and transportation. 100% of our students are experiencing homelessness and under the poverty line. Our families live in local shelters, and most are single-parent, minority families, and the sole custodian is not able to provide a living wage to support entire family. Further, 100% of our students have experienced trauma (unstable living situation, food insecurity, abuse, drug use, foster homes) which causes irreversible loss. To give these children any semblance of a “normal” (healthy, happy) childhood is truly an honor and a joy for the staff of PL. Our desire is that through the opportunities to explore, create, play and have fun, our young students can begin to a build a trusting and confident foundation that will develop lifelong learners.
The value of preschool is immeasurable, especially for minority children under the poverty line. Already six months behind peers by the time they enter kindergarten, full time preschool will prepare these children for grade school academically AND socially. PL serves a child holistically, and flags any concerns including cognitive, social, and learning delays, helping parents to seek treatments or preventative care before grade school even begins.
By expanding on STEAM curriculum, young children, who are natural-born scientists and engineers, will be at the center of the experience, presented opportunities to learn the same material in different settings and through different lenses, enabling their natural inclination to explore, to build, and to question. Opportunities such as The Aquarium of The Pacific, Discovery Cube, Reptile Zoo, Horse & Petting Zoo, Long Beach Airport, Bubble Mania, Magicians, Exploratory Art, and urban hiking are meant to spark curiosity.
Additionally, play-based field trips, such as parks, museums, and indoor gyms like Rancho Los Cerritos, We Rock the Spectrum, KidsTown, Pretend City, Chuck E Cheese will afford our students the chance to simply just have fun, as every child should.
Precious Lamb is a unique preschool exclusively serving children experiencing homelessness in the greater Long Beach area. Our mission (Breaking the cycle of homelessness, one child at a time), aligns with LBCF’s strategic focus to address homelessness by providing direct services to homeless families. By providing full time, free care for children, parents can seek services that will help get their family out of homelessness (work, permanent housing, school and graduation, counseling, sobriety) while their child is receiving high-quality early education that will prepare them for Kindergarten and beyond (statistically, kids who complete preschool are twice as likely to graduate).
Precious Lamb serves at-risk children, in line with the mission of the Jack L. Fennie Foundation’s preference for children’s charities.
How-will-you-succeed: Program success will be monitored through measurable goals and outcomes, including:
-To increase the number of STEAM-related field trips and presentations by 25% (add 3-4 more in 2019-2020)
-To provide at least one STEAM –related project or presentation each week
-To increase the number of fun, activity –based field trips and experiences by 40% (add 5-6 more in 2019-2020)
-To provide play and STEAM based field trips and opportunities to approximately 120 students in the 2019-2020 school year.
Data is collected through assessments and observation, and parent and staff feedback (surveyed at end of each school year).
The STEAM and Play-Based Field Trip and Experiences program will be financially supported in the future through additional grant requests, support from the County Supervisor’s office (they provide a loan for charter and school buses),and seeking additional funding from donors and corporate partners, which will be included in our annual budget to sustain annual costs related to program. A gift from the Jack L. Fennie grant will leverage our program requests to other grantors by demonstrating our feasibility, accountability, and financial security.
Who-are-you: Precious Lamb Preschool is the only full time, faith-based, and free preschool offered for homeless families in all of Long Beach and surrounding areas. Founded in 1999 by Sharalyn Croft in response to the overwhelming number of homeless young families living in shelters. She learned these parents did not have a safe and stable place to take their children as they sought employment and rehabilitation. After years of fundraising and seeking a site that was willing to overlook the stigma attached to homeless children at that time, Sharalyn found a home at former church /school in downtown Long Beach and Precious Lamb formally opened our doors in 2002 to three deserving children. Over the last 17 years Precious Lamb has expanded and served nearly 600 children ages 18 months to 5 years.
We partner with 20 local shelters for domestic violence, crisis pregnancy, substance abuse and economic hardship in the Long Beach area who refer families to us. 90% of our referring shelters are within two miles of our school, making transportation and walk-ability possible. Eligible children attend our school full-time at no charge while their parent or guardian receives treatment, education, job training or housing that will hopefully lift their family out of poverty. We seek to create systemic and social change by interrupting the cycle of homelessness for young children and building a foundation of loving to learn for a lifetime. The goal of PL is to develop school readiness through an emphasis on academic, social and emotional development through curriculum and care nuanced for children experiencing trauma. Highly qualified teachers work within a uniquely low 1:4 ratio (the state standard is one educator to 12 children). We currently have three age specific classrooms (toddler, preschool, and pre-k) and we may serve up to 120 students a year. Precious Lamb is open five days a week, and we provide breakfast, lunch, snacks, naps and potty training, along with a competitive curriculum, outdoor play, music, and excursions.
We do not receive any state or federal aid, and are completely funded by individual donors, corporate gifts, churches, and foundations. With approximately 800 donors a year, Precious Lamb spends eighty cents of each dollar directly on programming.
Recently named, “The Best Preschool in Long Beach” by Long Beach Post readers, Precious Lamb has also received the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce 3rd Sector Award in 2015, and Steward of the 2nd District Award in 2014. Precious Lamb works very closely with community partners for volunteerism, resources and referrals, and collaboration. Our partners include, just to name a few, CSULB, Long Beach Community Foundation, St.Anthony’s High School, LBUSD, Hotel Maya, Young Horizons, The Guidance Center, jetBlue, The Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Long Beach, Boeing, and The Munzer Foundation.