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Educational First Steps Reception Gary Kennedy and Michele Valdez (EFS event co-chairs), Rolando Blackman (speaker), Wendy Stanley and Marc Stanley (EFS event co-chairs)

Educational First Steps, whose mission is to increase the number of economically disadvantaged children receiving high-quality early childhood education, has announced details of its sixth annual One Childhood One Chance luncheon. The luncheon will be held on Tuesday, November 13 at Renaissance Dallas Hotel (2222 N. Stemmons Freeway) from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Co-chairs are Wendy and Marc Stanley and Michele Valdez and Gary Kennedy.

The speaker is Rolando Blackman, NBA Legend, former Dallas Maverick and fellow Dallasite who is passionate about education. In an informal interview format, Blackman will share how his path to success included a family focus on education. Brad Sham, The Voice of the Cowboys, will serve as the moderator.

Jennifer Mosle, EFS board member and development committee chair, welcomed and thanked the sponsors and co-chairs at a patron party on October 2 at Wheelhouse. She said, “This year’s luncheon theme is ‘growing the future for at-risk children by planting the seeds of high quality early childhood education.’ Thank you for supporting this luncheon that raises critical funds to bring this education to the children and to support teacher training.”

Rolando Blackman added, “Education is what our city and our country needs. I came to this country when I was eight years old, and I’m an immigrant. Thankfully, I had the teachers, systems and support to move forward in school, college and life. Everyone needs a chance, especially our youngest at-risk children.”

Funds raised from this luncheon enables EFS to partner with 93 daycare centers in at-risk neighborhoods, carrying out a results-driven program for becoming nationally accredited preschools, at no cost to the centers, teachers or parents. These centers progress from daycares providing little more than babysitting to nationally accredited early education centers that become anchors in their neighborhoods while preparing more children for school and life success. Over 6,500 at-risk children ages birth to 5 years old are receiving quality early education because of EFS’ investment.

EFS, which started in South Dallas, has grown to serve Tarrant, Denton, Johnson, Collin and Grayson counties, collaborating across 23 school districts. The organization is continually pushing the boundaries and aggressively scaling programs to place more students in quality learning environments.

For information about underwriting opportunities or tickets to the luncheon, contact Erika Dzangare, edzangare@educationalfirststeps.org or 214-824-7940. Tickets are $250, and tables of 10 start at $2,500. More information can be found at http://educationalfirststeps.org/.

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