Simon Yeung, senior vice president, research and development, PepsiCo, led the Frito-Lay Thrives Thursdays event that took place at ChildCareGroup.
Partnership between ChildCareGroup, Frito-Lay empowering Southern Dallas families through early education
by Ginni Beam, Special Contributor | March 27, 2019
With the help of partners like United Way and Frito-Lay, the nonprofit organization ChildCareGroup, which advocates for a stronger early-childhood system, is changing Dallas one family at a time.
Evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates high-quality education in the first five years of a child’s life impacts everything from future job earnings to the likelihood of being incarcerated. Effective education programs focused on these critical early years can lay the foundation for a successful, independent future.
Unfortunately, the underserved low-income communities that need these services the most are also disproportionately less likely to have access to them.
How ChildCareGroup works to break the poverty cycle
According to ChildCareGroup’s annual report, more than 30 percent of Dallas County children age 5 and under live in poverty. Approximately 14 percent of those children receive services from ChildCareGroup.
More than a daycare, ChildCareGroup, which has been championing strong early-childhood education for all children, regardless of background or circumstance, since 1901, serves families as holistic units, offering education and aid to children from low-income situations and their parents. This research-based “two-generation approach” works to break cycles of generational poverty by providing on-site services addressing post-secondary education and employment pathways, health and wellbeing, economic assets, social capital and, most importantly, early childhood education. ChildCareGroup also provides ongoing support and training for early childhood professionals and childcare providers.
Partnering to create change
One of the agency’s most notable and longest-lasting partnerships has been with United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, dating back to 1924. ChildCareGroup was one of United Way’s original service provider partners, and United Way has supported ChildCareGroup generously over the years — including financial support for its nationally accredited early-childhood programs and helping pilot several new programs and initiatives.
Longtime corporate partner Frito-Lay has been another significant source of support. Frito-Lay’s deep North Texas roots — reflected in Frito-Lay’s Plano, Texas headquarters as well as associates from all divisions of PepsiCo who live and work in Southern Dallas — have fueled continued their investment in the community. In DFW, Frito-Lay volunteers have organized several service projects at ChildCareGroup’s early childhood centers, including numerous playground makeovers and in-classroom activities.
ChildCareGroup has also been the beneficiary of many volunteer efforts organized through PepsiCo’s United Way Day of Caring, an annual event mobilizing PepsiCo and Frito-Lay associates to United Way service providers across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
This ongoing support has been so impactful that at its 2019 Annual Meeting, ChildCareGroup recognized PepsiCo as its Corporate Volunteer Group of the Year.
“ChildCareGroup is so grateful for our wonderful partnership with PepsiCo and its volunteers,” says Tori Mannes, president, CEO, ChildCareGroup. “PepsiCo, Frito-Lay and its volunteers have undertaken many important projects at our centers, including several playground ‘extreme makeovers,’ and their support has been invaluable. Their leadership and investment in the community, especially their focus on Southern Dallas, demonstrates their strong commitment to improving the lives of children and families.”
ChildCareGroup and Southern Dallas Thrives
These working relationships with United Way and Frito-Lay have recently culminated in a program organized by Frito-Lay, the PepsiCo Foundation and United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Southern Dallas Thrives — a focused community initiative dedicated to the meaningful improvement of the lives of Southern Dallas citizens.
ChildCareGroup plays a key part in Southern Dallas Thrives’ First Five initiative. First Five will feature the same dual-generation model that has made ChildCareGroup’s community outreach so effective by improving the quality of early learning and childcare programs in Southern Dallas and providing opportunities and education for working mothers.
Over three years, Southern Dallas Thrives will support this initiative with a $600,000 grant that aims to increase community-wide kindergarten readiness by 10 percent through providing volunteers to early childhood centers in Southern Dallas and improving the quality and accessibility of childcare to working mothers.
As of early 2019, Frito-Lay associates have the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the Southern Dallas community through its monthly Thrives Thursdays group volunteer events, organized and led by Frito-Lay executives. Each Thrives Thursdays event includes partners such as community centers, after-school STEM learning programs and Food for Good, PepsiCo’s signature nutrition operation.
“While in business we spend a lot of time focused on products and numbers, volunteering is about hearts and souls,” says Simon Yeung, senior vice president, research and development, PepsiCo. Yeung led the Thrives Thursdays event that took place at ChildCareGroup, during which PepsiCo and Frito-Lay associates led interactive crafts with preschool students and donated more than 100 books to their classrooms. “Our Thrives Thursdays event was not only fun but also highly rewarding, as we got to work with children at ChildCareGroup. It is a privilege to be able to contribute to the community of which we are a part.”
Frito-Lay hopes to encourage its associates and the broader Dallas-Fort Worth community to volunteer and donate to United Way agencies. To learn more, visit SouthernDallasThrives.com.
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