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Dollar per Child Spotlight: Kaplan Univ. “Collects Change to Create Change” in Support of Head Start

Dollar per Child fundraising is the sole source of support for NHSA’s national advocacy campaigns.  

by Dr. Darlene Estes-Del Re, Kaplan University  

Learning about Dollar per Child

Kaplan University is committed to supporting the work and efforts of Head Start through professional development opportunities, scholarship initiatives, and student club involvement in community projects. In our courses and Educator’s Club, we encourage students to become advocates for programs such as Head Start which work to provide the best educational experiences and services for all children.

This past year, it was difficult for us to watch the drastic cuts made to Head Start programs nationwide. Students at Kaplan could not stop talking about the tremendous impact the cuts would have on children and families. We were excited to learn of a way we could become a part of the solution by getting involved in the Dollar-per-Child Head Start fundraising campaign. As a full-time faculty member and Co-Advisor of the Educator’s Club, I attended the Dollar-per-Child Webinar to learn more about the campaign and how Kaplan University could join the effort.  

Getting the Word Out

After the webinar, I worked with the Educational Studies Department leadership team and Student Life services to develop our plan to support the Dollar-per-Child initiative. The Student Life Services at Kaplan were very supportive of our efforts and helped to set up a time frame for collections and a designated fund collector for our campaign. To jumpstart our Dollar-per-Child fundraising, we decided to work directly with our Educator’s Club student members.

The Educator’s Club is an online student organization whose members are interested in promoting educational change and becoming more effective teachers in the field. Members meet virtually every month and engage with one another through an ongoing club e-college platform. From February to mid-March, members were encouraged to “collect change to create change” and send collected money (at any donation amount) in to our Student Life Representative to be included in a group collection. Students promoted the campaign at their workplaces and among family and friends. The president of the Educator’s Club, Rosie Zanger, also helped promote the campaign in her own courses as well as in the club itself.

Other faculty instructors and I used time before classes started to get students excited about joining the Educator’s Club and getting involved with our Dollar-per-Child community project. As a result, more students became interested in showing support. Some students also voiced interest in helping their own local Head Start programs collect for the cause directly.

One week into our campaign, we decided to use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to promote our “collect change to create change” campaign. We received a great response from other faculty members who wanted to get involved. Faculty joined students to collect change for a month to contribute to Head Start on behalf of the Educator’s Club. Our department chair, Dr. Patti Pelletier, really went out of her way to promote our fundraising efforts for Head Start throughout the department.  

Looking Forward

To date, we have raised $306 (and may have more coming in). Given our time constraint, we did quite well. Our students were able to experience being part of a larger cause and will get to see the difference they helped to make in Head Start. I will be attending the 2014 National Head Start Conference in Long Beach and look forward to presenting the donation at the opening session on behalf of Kaplan University’s Educator’s Club.

We hope that our story will inspire others to find ways that they too can get involved and support the great work and efforts of Head Start programs! As a university, we welcome future opportunities to support the directors, teachers, staff, children and families of Head Start.    

Thank you, Dr. Estes-Del Re and Kaplan University for your support of Head Start!

If you have any questions about Kaplan University’s Dollar-per-Child fundraising campaign, you can reach Dr. Estes-Del Re at DEstesdelre@kaplan.edu.

Find out more about Dollar-per-Child at go.nhsa.org/Dollar-per-Child