In celebration of its 20th year, Precious Lamb preschool is launching its “20 for 20” campaign on Feb. 1, with the goal of raising $20,000 to support its work in the community.
The school offers tuition-free, faith-based education to children who are experiencing homelessness, with the goal of interrupting the cycle of poverty in the community. In addition, Precious Lamb can connect parents to resources such as a social worker and a substance abuse counselor, if needed.
For the fundraiser, community members are encouraged to support the nonprofit with either a monthly gift of $20 or a one-time donation.
“We have been in the community and serving it for so long, we can raise funds in celebration of this momentous occasion and in the hopes that we can continue to be here the next 20 years and continue making a difference,” said Precious Lamb developmental director Alexandra Gray.
Since it first opened its doors to students in 2002, Precious Lamb has supported 550 children ranging from 18 months to 5 years old with full-time, free preschool.
“Our hope for the next 20 years is that we can expand our reach and provide a safe place for young children beyond homelessness, whether that be living in poverty or children of service members,” said Gray.
Gray also hopes for the addition of an onsite social worker; currently, associate social workers assist parents part-time over Zoom.
Through free preschool education, children are able to enter kindergarten better prepared, while allowing parents the ability to work without worrying about childcare, explained Gray.
Precious Lamb dedicates itself to maintaining a one-to-four teacher-to-child ratio, along with a classroom volunteer in order to provide children with the personal attention they need.
“We’re so huge on making sure that they’re reaching those really big milestones before they go to kindergarten because they have so much working against them,” said Gray. “There’s so many obstacles that come with being homeless and experiencing trauma at such a young age.”
The money raised throughout the fundraiser will go toward hiring more qualified teachers along with providing additional classroom materials, she said.
In an effort to raise more awareness and donations for the organization, Precious Lamb is including an addition to its fundraiser: long-time supporter and Long Beach resident Tom Cordóva will complete a 100-mile walk from San Diego to Long Beach from Feb. 9 to 11.
“Places like Precious Lamb can help with the nurturing at a time when it is so important and unfortunately costly to a parent without the means,” he said.
While walking, Cordóva will carry a double-sided flag with a Venmo QR code to encourage donations to the nonprofit.
Cordóva has attempted the walk once before; in 2020, he made the journey from Long Beach to San Diego, in five days instead of three.
“I know I can do five, so that’s not gonna be any fun,” he said. “I’m just gonna try and do something that I don’t know if I can do it or not, and that’ll make me feel really happy if I can pull it off.”
While his walk in 2020 was more centered on spreading the message of kindness, he is looking forward to supporting Precious Lamb this year.
“I’m honored to bring awareness to the need of an organization that puts themselves in the center of the challenge to make a difference,” he said.
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