The third annual Change the First Five Years gala was a success for children once again.
Thanks to the money raised by the Early Learning Coalition of Flagler and Volusia during the third annual Change the First Five Years gala held on Sept. 29, 85 young children in both counties will have access to childcare.
Allison Miller, director of community partnerships for the coalition, said the gala raised over $20,000, which will be matched by the state to equal an estimated total of $340,000 that will stay within both counties to help local families struggling to pay for childcare. Miller said one full-year of childcare costs about $4,000 a year.
Miller said 90% of a child's brain develops in their first five years, which is why they focus on that specific age group.
"Our focus is to get children ready for kindergarten, so this just means that many more children have access to care so that they can have the best possible outcomes in school and in life," Miller said.
This year, they also awarded the United Methodist Christian School as provider of the year during the gala. Change the First Five years also featured silent auctions, guest speakers and a game show activity.