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Helen and Ron Raikes honored with Abbott Award
Helen and Ron Raikes honored with Abbott Award

Helen Raikes, Willa Cather Professor of Child, Youth and Family Studies (CYAF), and her late husband, former Nebraska State Senator Ron Raikes, were recognized Oct. 10 with the Grace Abbott Award from the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation.

The award honors the Raikes vision for the Sixpence Early Learning Fund, which for 10 years has brought high-quality early childhood education to vulnerable families in Nebraska. Helen and Ron worked hand in hand to fight for additional funding for early childhood education in Nebraska.

“It’s hard not to be convinced about the importance of the early years,” says Helen. “Everything that follows builds on these early beginnings. Children lacking the experiences [stimulation, nutrition, and emotional support] during these early years show up to kindergarten significantly behind their peers, and most studies show they do not catch up. Moreover, it seems most moral to remove barriers to give children a chance to fulfill their genetic potential. Shouldn’t every child have this opportunity?”

Broken Bow's Sixpence collaboration shows how multiple local partners can work together seamlessly to advance the early learning and development of infants and toddlers in central Nebraska.

Crete Public School

Scottsbluff Public School's Sixpence Program is making positive changes in the lives of the families in their community.

The Sixpence Board of Trustees has announced the recipients of the first round of the new Sixpence Child Care Partnership Grants: North Platte, Kearney, Falls City, and a Panhandle consortium serving locations in Chadron, Gering and Sidney.

Read More: New Sixpence grants connect child care centers, public schools to promote early childhood development

Detailed descriptions of the newly awarded Sixpence Grants. A blend of public and private funds went to 16 Nebraska early childhood education projects. Sixpence is now serving 946 at-risk infants and toddlers. Click on the top bar to download more information on the newest grantees.