Grace Place in Golden Gate has a curriculum in high demand

Grace Place for Children and Families has a curriculum that is in high demand across the country, as many other schools hope to provide pathways out of poverty. The secret to the Golden Gate non-profit’s success is its not just educating children, its teaching entire families.

Wafa Eratreche and her daughter, 3 years old, are part of the program called, Bright Beginnings.

“The best thing is I can come with my daughter,” Eratreche said. “And she’s learning and I learning.”

The program does not just cater to the children. It teaches parents, too.

Dr. Tim Ferguson, the CEO of Grace Place for Children and Families, said the idea is to work with the entire family.

A mother bonds with her child in the Bright Beginnings program. (Credit: Grace Place)
A mother bonds with her child in the Bright Beginnings program. (Credit: Grace Place for Children and Families)

“Primarily a mom who works on her English skills, which are her child’s first and foremost important teacher,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson said the non-profit bases the program off of four pillars. There are programs for adult and parent education, early childhood, and parent and child time together or PACT time, which is for parents and children to spend time together. Grace Place franchises the program based around those four pillars that focus on the crucial years of early development.

“Organizations are starting to look at what we are doing,” Ferguson said, “with, ‘how do I replicate that in our community?'”

Grace Place is working with communities across the country, including the Guadalupe Center in Immokalee. It has a fundraiser on Feb. 15 to support their goal. By spreading the curriculum, Grace Place is empowering others with success stories that change lives, just like it has done in Collier County.

“I will improve for my life and for my future and my daughter,” Eratreche said.

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Michael Mora
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