Open those calendars and set your timers, we’re a few short weeks from the next exciting event on the Sean O’Keefe Events Calendar. The Child Development Association’s annual fundraising event The Down Home Derby is galloping quickly towards our social stratospheres and May 5th, 2012 will be here before you know it. The evening promises to be a good one, filled with amazing food provided by David Larkworthy and Five Seasons Brewery on Old Milton Parkway, exciting live and silent auctions, music featuring Hope Sonam and the cool vocal stylings of the Johnny Hubert Band and the Blue Ribbon Hat Parade. The event aims to raise funds directly for kid’s scholarships that allow low income families to send their children to preschool. Without this fundraiser and the money it brings in, the CDA would not be able to provide the education that the community’s children need. Lucky for me, I got the chance to sit down with Executive Director Donna Smythe to get better idea of all that CDA is about. Donna is a woman dedicated to cause of the Child Development Association and there was certainly no one better to talk to about this amazing non-profit.
The CDA has been in existence for 40+ years commencing after a news headline revealed to some local Roswellians that the children in the community were being underserved educationally, emotionally, and physically. Amazed that this was going on in their affluent community, this group of citizens banded together and decided there needed to be a change. They wanted to provide a safe place for local kids to come and receive an education. The program had a homegrown start out of someone’s actual home, but as word spread like a wildfire, more and more families joined in and soon enough, more space was needed. As it was in late 1960’s/early 1970’s, race relations in Georgia were tense, and considering the CDA began as a place to serve an underserved population, the CDA had a tough time finding a space. Eventually through the gracious heart of Roswell Presbyterian Church, the CDA found it’s official first home and to this day the church is still one of the CDA’s most loyal sponsors. A few decades later, the CDA finds itself housed in a bright new home with a welcome mat and room for even more growth. The CDA has worked hard to transform itself into a leader of community health and early childhood education in the Roswell. The building first and foremost is used as classrooms and a place of learning, but wanting to be involved in the community, the CDA rents out offices and group rooms to nonprofits in the area and local business meet-ups. It’s a win-win for everyone in the community and has definitely proven to be exemplary community model.
The CDA has seen lots of growth and enrichment in the last few years. Although they still serve young children, still teach preschool, and continue to maintain the highest quality, the CDA is putting more emphasis on outcomes. Everything that the early childhood school does is evidence base and researched base. The CDA is Nationally Accredited by the NAEYC, the National Accreditation for the Education of Young Children, which is a huge deal considering only 1 in 10 preschools receive this national accreditation. It’s a local gem that more and more people need to know about. The CDA is helping low income families send their children to school so that their world might be opened to the opportunities of a better education and a better life. At one time, the CDA relied on volunteers as teachers, but now every classroom holds a professional educator and the student/teacher relationship is held in the highest regard. Teacher and parent relationships are also crucial as teachers are expected to help parents navigate the complex components of raising children.
The CDA’s website makes it easy and efficient to donate to their worthy cause. While maintaining that monetary donations are the most needed at this point, Donna points out that donated goods and services as well as volunteered time are also valuable ways to contribute. With that said, the best and most Sean O’Keefe Events requested method of helping out the CDA is to attend the May 5th Down Home Derby event in Alpharetta, Georgia. Not only does the money raised go towards sending deserving and underserved children to school, but you’ll also have fabulous time. Like I said before, anything involving the CDA is a win-win! Find out for yourself just how much of a win-win it is by logging onto www.cdakids.org. Also, make sure to stay tuned for more details on the upcoming Down Home Derby.