Funded Partner Spotlight: Sanderlin Neighborhood and Family Center

May 26, 2024Education,Mental Health
students participating in Sanderlin Center's after school enrichment program

On June 10, the Sanderlin Neighborhood and Family Center will welcome a group of 4- and 5-year-olds to their new voluntary pre-kindergarten (VPK) classroom for Bootie Camp, a free summer enrichment program designed to prepare young learners for the upcoming year.

Using a play-based learning curriculum, these 6 students will work with VPK teacher Marlo Scott on things like emotional regulation, self-calming, early literacy and numeracy, science, and more.

“Studies have shown that children who have high-quality early childhood education opportunities from birth to five do much better in public school,” Program Director Jessicas Evans said. “They’re more mentally and socially-emotionally prepared for K-12 schooling, more likely to graduate, and less likely to fall into the preschool-to-prison pipeline.”

Social-emotional learning is particularly important for school success, according to Evans. It includes things like recognizing emotions in yourself and others, verbalizing feelings, self-calming, impulse control, cooperating with others, participating and group activities, solving problems, making good choices, and more.

While spots for the summer Bootie Camp are filled, Sanderlin is still accepting applications for their extended day VPK program that will run during the school year, starting in August. Tuition for the full day of care, from 8 AM to 5 PM, is $124 per week, with scholarships available for up to 30% of costs for those who don’t qualify for Early Learning Coalition assistance.

If all goes well, Sanderlin leaders hope to open a second VPK classroom to serve an additional six students.

“High-quality VPK allows children to enter kindergarten knowing how to socialize better and feeling more confident and comfortable in a full-day school setting,” Evans said. “They can start out on the right foot.”

In addition to offering VPK programming, Sanderlin was also able to use grant funding from the Foundation and Orlando Health Bayfront Hospital to purchase a van to support and expand their after-school enrichment program. They plan to extend services to an additional transformational school this fall, offering tailored reading interventions, tutoring, and homework assistance to improve student literacy skills and academic success.

Learn more about the Sanderlin Center and their work at

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