Julie Garber receives Early Learning Champion Award

Wabash County, IN (Nov. 18, 2019) – Grow Wabash County would like to congratulate Julie Garber, program director for the Community Foundation of Wabash County, on receiving the Indiana Early Learning Champion Award during the Early Learning Summit for Economic Development on Thursday, November 7, 2019.

“I’m very grateful for the recognition of our early education innovations in Wabash County and I gladly share this prize with the members of our creative coalition,” Garber said.

Garber has been one of many passionate members of the Wabash County Early Childhood Coalition, which was formed in an effort to address the lack of access to high-quality early
childhood education opportunities for Wabash County families.

“Julie is a valued leader in our community and her work through the Community Foundation of Wabash County to support the establishment and growth of high quality opportunities in early childhood education are vital to the long-term success of Wabash County,” said Keith Gillenwater, President and CEO of Grow Wabash County.

As we look to grow our population, it is imperative we have high-quality childcare spots available for current and new residents. The coalition has spent the past few years finding ways to bring more early education access to the working families of Wabash County who are often left to make difficult decisions between working and finding adequate care for their children.

Those efforts include helping to launch First Five Wabash County to create a strategic education plan for young kids as well as connecting educational facilities such as the Manchester Early
Learning Center with grant money and/or materials to better serve Wabash County.

“Young parents face enormous financial pressures,” Garber said. “They are paying for childcare, saving for their children’s college expenses, paying off their own education debts, buying houses, and saving for retirement at the very time in their lives they are making the least money. I am committed to finding ways as a whole community to address these issues for families because the success of the small child is success for us all.”

The annual summit during which Garber received the Early Learning Champion Award was a convergence of stakeholders not only from the world of education, but from all sorts of industries and
businesses. The goal of the summit was to position early childhood education as less of an isolated issue, but one that impacts everyone in a community, especially employers. More information about the summit and how to get involved with its missions can be found at www.indianaearlylearningsummit.org.

“Every investment we make in children will pay off in greater home ownership, more taxpaying, a more skilled workforce and more jobs as children become adults,” Garber said. “While we’d like to think that we can wait until they’re older to invest, the best time is now to support our youngest citizens and to get the best payoff. Their minds are exploding with growth that won’t happen again. The window to act is small but the results of early education are great.”

Download the full press release here.