Local Commentary

Delegate Jim Scott’s Richmond Report

For several years my wife, Nancy, and I have supported the Falls Church-McLean Children’s Center because of its unique focus on helping children from families with limited income reach their potential. Originally located in a McLean area church, the Center provided meals, childcare and family support, along with social services and health care under the leadership of a devoted staff and committed volunteers.

Using the federal Head Start program as the model, families were encouraged to help with services while learning about parenting and early childhood education. Unfortunately, after several years, the church was unable to continue to offer space, and the Center lost its main partner. A new partner had to be found.

Fortunately,at that time some space was available in the Lemon Road Elementary School on Idylwood Road, so FC-MCC moved. With help from the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), the Virginia General Assembly, and Fairfax County (through the leadership of state and local elected officials, including School Board member Janie Strauss, Supervisor John Foust, and McLean’s representatives in the Virginia House of Delegates and in the Virginia Senate), the Center survived.

At about the same time PNC Bank initiated its national efforts to promote, improve, and expand early childhood education through a multi-year $350 million investment in early childhood education. According to Jim Rohr, PNC Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board: “At PNC we are dedicated to the well-being of our youngest citizens and believe it is imperative that all children enter kindergarten ready to learn. We must invest in the future of children. They are our future employees and customers. The research tells us that the rewards of school readiness initiatives are significant and long lasting. It not only makes good business sense, but it is the right thing to do.”

Additional research has pointed out that 35% to 45% of first-time kindergartners are poorly prepared for school. That’s why PNC’s $350 million multi-year commitment is so important. It is also why Nancy and I bank at PNC Bank today.