SARASOTA — For millions of parents, the safety of their children is both a top priority and constant worry.

Thanks to a grant of $50,000 from the Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Foundation, Children First will be able to improve building security at four of its locations in Sarasota.

Access control doors and upgraded security cameras will be placed in every classroom and public space at the Helen R. Payne Center located on 33rd Street, the Helen R. Payne Annex located on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, the ROSS Center (a partnership site with the Sarasota Housing Authority), and the Linnie E. Dalbeck Center located on Oak Street (a partnership site with First Presbyterian Church).

The improved building security will be put into place to further enhance the safety of more than 150 children and their families each year, as well as hundreds of staff members, volunteers and supporters.

“Through the generosity of the Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Foundation, our children will have a safe space to develop the healthy skills they need to thrive, and our parents can better focus on work and their own education with the assurance of their child’s safety. We are deeply appreciative for this comprehensive support that ensures the security of every man, woman, and child who walks through our front doors,” said President & CEO Philip Tavill.

Founded in 1961 and ranked in the top 1% out of over 1,800 Head Starts nationwide, Children First has the mission of strengthening children and families by improving the quality of their lives through a comprehensive approach to development, education, health and well-being.

At 15 sites throughout Sarasota County, Children First offers full-day preschool, infant and toddler care, and nutrition and health care assistance to children ages birth to five years old from low-income families.

Through Children First, children receive the social and cognitive skills needed to enter kindergarten and elementary school on track.

For more information, call 941-953-3877 or go to childrenfirst.net.

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