On Friday, October 25th, LaShawn Bridges opened a new Head Start location in an under-served area of Detroit on E. 8 Mile rd. called “Blessed Beginnings Learning Center” after years of running an Early Head Start from her own home! The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony included news media, as well as congratulations from the Mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan, and Detroit City Councilperson, Scott Benson.
“Folks in the suburbs who grow up with wealthy families have the means to start a business but we got a whole lot of talented, hard-working Detroiters that didn’t have that same access. We believe the future of the city would be a whole lot stronger if Detroiters grew up thinking, ‘I don’t have to work for somebody else. I can be my own boss. I can do my own business. I can take these vacant store fronts, and, when we started this, LaShawn Bridges was who we had in mind.'” – Mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan.
Matrix was instrumental in helping Ms. Bridges launch this new Head Start facility by providing furniture, a playground, and assisting teachers with curriculum, coaching, and receiving their Child Development Associate (CDA) certifications. Facility improvements included security windows and doors, new flooring, fencing, upgraded playgrounds and indoor lighting. Sixty children will now benefit from the care, education, and facility brought together by Ms. Bridges, Matrix Human Services, and funding from a variety of sources including Motor City Match, IFF, and others.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be here to say congratulations and to help welcome a new entrepreneur to the 3rd district, and especially someone who is opening a business in an education and child care desert, right in her own neighborhood, right here in Northeast side of Detroit. And so to be able to hire a resident from the city of Detroit to invest in our community, and to invest in our children is huge, and so it’s also a blessing. And the sign says it all, ‘Blessed Beginnings.'” – Councilperson, Scott Benson.
The story of Ms. Bridge’s history with child care started years ago when she was receiving assistance from Matrix Human Services as an Early Head Start (EHS), Family Child Care Partner. The program brought together the best of both worlds by combining the strength of EHS services and resources with the traditional child care and family care settings, in Ms. Bridges own home. Currently, Matrix successfully partners with 7 family child care homes and 15 child care centers across the City of Detroit. In each one, Matrix has transformed their infant and toddler classrooms, made significant improvements to their facilities, as well as coached and supported the EHS/CCP teachers to improve the quality of services delivered to children and families.
Overall, our family demographics for our Family Child Care Partners (including Ms. Bridges and Blessed Beginnings) look like this:
- 88% African American and 4% Bi-racial
- 50/50 male and female enrolled children
- Ages of children are 0 -3
- English is the primary language
- 85% of families are single parent households
Our Early Head Start, Child Care Partners show continuous improvements in the areas of:
- Enrollment (maintain and recruitment)
- Attendance (maintaining 85%)
- Health Screenings and Baby Well Checks completed
- Dental Screenings completed
- Vision and Hearing Screening completed
- Referrals initiated and follow up provided
- Child Assessments completed
- Disability Services for children and families
- Parent Engagement
- Health and Safety / Compliance
- Data Collection: identify challenges and trends to improve outcomes for children and families
Congratulations to LaShawn Bridges and Blessed Beginnings Learning Center!
14050 E. 8 Mile rd.