Together, we have faced a world in extreme distress. Parallel public health and racial justice crises have marked this year in our lives forever. As a school, small business, and a Black-led organization, we have been steeped in the pain and uncertainty that touched so many. Covid-19 forced us to close our doors in March, but we were determined to defend Sow Well Tots, our space dedicated to safety, justice, and reverence for children and nature. Despite the unknowable future, we decided that we would not give up on our mission to provide nature-based education for young children.
BUT, we could not have done it without you. Last June, for the first time ever, we created a fundraising campaign, and with our eyes set on a strong reopening, we asked for your support. Over 500 people responded to our story and donated over $50,000 to sustain our school through circumstances that otherwise would have forced us out of business.
Through our June Go Fund Me campaign, we have been able to:
-REOPEN our doors as a Covid-safe, all-outdoor early childhood program!
-FULLY FUND our Inclusion Scholarship Program, currently supporting 5 children in being able to attend Sow Well Tots at a cost affordable to their families.
-Purchase PPE like face shields, masks, sanitizer, gloves, and aprons
-Cover lost income for 6 months of forced closure due to Covid-19
-Build and implement Phase 1 of our enhanced outdoor playscape including a sand and pebble play area, various balance beams, a slide, a climbing structure, and a play-kitchen to allow for a transition to a safe and engaging all-outdoor program
-Purchase a bell tent as an additional covered, well-ventilated space for children to play and nap in
-Install an outdoor masonry fire pit that is a gathering space and hearth for our outdoor school
-Commission plans for Phase 2 structures that will accommodate a larger outdoor program in the future
Every step we took because of those funds fortified our resilience.
Articulating our mission, and receiving such generous support in return, was a game-changer for our school. More people than ever before have been introduced to the culture of Black-led, nature-based, early childhood education we’ve created at Sow Well Tots. We reopened in September to our small cohort of current families, and we now have over 25 families on our waiting list, many of whom will need scholarship funds to attend. We are again asking for your faith and action to help us take the next steps.
Where we go from here…
-Build capacity to expand enrollment, including need-based scholarship-funded spaces
-Hire and train an additional educator to support an additional "classroom".
-Complete Phase 2 of our physical infrastructure improvements including a covered play-space structure, fencing, and a final outdoor classroom structure that will accommodate our larger enrollment beginning in Spring 2021!
Today, it seems there might be a light at the end of the Covid tunnel, but the world is still harrowing-- volatile and unproductive politics, systemic racism, economic inequity, and climate injustice still loom large.
At Sow Well Tots, we are cultivating solutions for our long term challenges.
We hope you will take time to follow us and hear about how we “sow the seeds for well beings” through holistic education, land stewardship, farm-to-table foods, and an Afro-folk perspective on artful living and purposeful work. We know how important, and uncommon our work is, and we know how essential it is for accessible nature-based education access to grow-- both through our program and by training others from what we have learned and created.
There is nothing more hopeful than planting a seed.
We ask that you consider giving a tax-free donation to Sow Well Tots, like a seed that will grow into whole and happy children, with lives pollinated by justice, so that we may reap the gifts of liberation on the land. Cultivating these gifts for others to learn from, especially people who do not see themselves reflected in these fields of innovative education, is the mission that drives us.
We also welcome checks, which avoid the GoFundME processing fee. Mail a check through our fiscal sponsor to: VWS, PO Box 2582, Brattleboro, VT 05303 with "Sow Well Tots" in the memo. 100% of your donation will go to SWT.
To be honest, had it not been for the incredible success of the June campaign, the SWT Early Childhood Program would have collapsed. Our story is a straightforward example of what a relatively small amount of money can do to improve the early childhood experiences of real children.
Today, graciously, we remain steadfast on our path but we need help to ensure we stay there. Please consider walking with us, seeding the possibilities of what we may accomplish with the longevity we aim for. We have come this far, positively influencing the lives of young children, which means we are supporting future generations, too!
With our Sincere Thanks and Love,
Bessie and the Sow Well Tots Team