We are living in unprecedented times. Spring is unfolding, our lives are beginning to reopen, but the world around us is harrowing. Set against the backdrop of a global pandemic and the unnecessary violation of Black lives, we are tasked with learning both how to safely operate a school during COVID-19 and how to deepen our work to end racial violence and oppression. Just like everyone in our community, Sow Well Tots has been deeply affected by both the abrupt pandemic event and the brutality against Black lives and protestors fighting for justice. In the time since our required closure in March, we have learned more about the long road to reopening and are reminded of the necessity of our existence and our duty to work for social change.
To reopen our doors and fulfill our mission, Sow Well Tots needs your help.
We anticipate a shortfall of $35,000 this year, due to forced program closures, new requirements that we enroll fewer children and shorten our days, and the cost of protective equipment and outdoor accommodations that will keep everyone safe. These shortfalls put our scholarship program at risk.
The work we do at Sow Well Tots is needed now more than ever. Until today, I have never had to launch a fundraising campaign, but we need our community now. Federal funding has not been available for organizations like mine. I’m a solo entrepreneur who has only just begun to assert her skills and expertise in the field. Sow Well Tots is a Black Woman-owned business, and a model school, poised to grow into a learning center for educators that will fill a critical void in the predominantly White Nature-based and Waldorf Early Childhood fields. It is essential that we preserve spaces that center Black voices and racial equity, and offer solutions and alternatives to the status quo, especially in the world of nature-based and Waldorf education.
We walk the talk. Since our founding in 2010, the Sow Well Tots Inclusion Scholarship Fund has been available to those in need (families of color, single-parent and low-income households), the children who are often overlooked and not provided with high-quality care. The Sow Well Tots Inclusion Scholarship Fund is the only way that 50% of our children are able to participate in our program. We are so proud that 50% of our families are of Color, and we’re striving to keep it this way, even though we are facing new challenges due to COVID-19.
Early Childhood programs everywhere are tasked with meeting many new mandates. These conditions have already forced many programs to shutter their businesses. Despite the pivots and lost income these changes require, we remain steadfast in our mission, and plan to be here to provide essential services to our community for years to come.
2020 has to be our year for expansion-- broadening our mission for transformative justice education, developing new outdoor play spaces, fortifying our scholarship fund, and more. We have a lot to accomplish because we are in a fight to THRIVE!
During this 14-Day Inclusion Scholarship Fund & Reopening Campaign supporters can make tax-deductible donations to Sow Well Tots through our fiscal sponsor and sister school, Vermont Wilderness School. 100% of your donations will go to Sow Well Tots to fully fund our scholarships and defray the cost of reopening under COVID-19 regulations. Help us meet our goal by June 22!
Note: Donations by check are welcome, and they will not be charged GoFundMe’s 5.5% processing fee. If you want to give by check, please make check out to our fiscal sponsor “Vermont Wilderness School,” write “Sow Well Tots” in the memo line, and mail to “VWS, PO Box 2585, Brattleboro, VT 05303
As we reopen our doors to a world in crisis, your contribution is an investment in a Black-owned school; sustainable, accessible high-quality care for all children; and much-awaited leadership in the field of Early Childhood Education. Help us to continue our work to “sow the seeds for well beings”. Support our resilience, and our ability to safely reopen for all the young children, now and in the future, who depend on the unique, diverse, and inclusive experiences that we provide. Your generous donation is deeply appreciated.
Bessie Jones, Founder and Lead Educator
Sow Well Tots Early Childhood Program