Love and support gets kids off to a good start in Sarasota

Every morning, you can find Eliezer and Wendy Rivera walking their daughter Sophia to class at the Dr. Elaine Marieb Early Learning Center in Sarasota.

"They teach them really good," said Wendy. "They learn a lot of stuff." 

They are taking part in Children First. The program's mission is to provide social and emotional growth for preschoolers.

"If you intervene then, if you’re able to offer high-quality services then, you are literally setting the stage for success for their entire lives,” explained president and CEO of Children First, Phillip Tavill.

The program has been helping families and their children since the 1960's.

"The entire program, it gives you specific things that you can do at home and with your kids," explained Sophia's dad, Eliezer. "To make sure that they are on the right path." 

The program is a four-time designated Head Start "Program of Excellence" winner, one of only two in the country. 

"It makes us feel really good to know that other folks say, ’You're doing a really good job for these kids, you're doing a really good job for these families,’" Tavill continued.

For Wendy, the program is having a big impact. 

"Children First is more like a family. They make you feel like a family, not only for parents, but children too."

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