Every Child Deserves a First Chance

First Chance for Children is dedicated to building an early education system that helps every child arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed.

Today, many children enter kindergarten far behind their peers. Children who arrive unready for school face a lifetime of challenges. They have lower high school graduation rates, more criminal convictions, higher teen pregnancy rates, and lower earnings. No five-year-old should face odds like these. As a result, our goal is for every child to arrive at school with the social, emotional, and academic skills needed to succeed in school--and in life.



Lend & Learn Toy Libraries are open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays from 10:00 - 1:00.  The Toy Libraries will be closed whenever Columbia Public Schools are closed for inclement weather.

Like both First Chance for Children and Lend and Learn Toy Lending Library on Facebook

Please use recycled grocery bags at Lucky's Grocery Store and donate the dime they give you in the First Chance for Children donation box!


First Chance for Children Vision and Mission Statements guide our work!


All children will arrive at school ready to learn and succeed in school and in life.


First Chance for Children is a leader at the local and state level advocating for high quality early childhood practices, programming and policy while providing resources to foster healthy families and high quality early childhood development programs and services. 

Dr. Jacqueline Jones

Senior Advisor for Early Learning to the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan

U.S. Department of Education


The Summit is free, but registration is required by noon, May 11.

Email:  gilbertc@firstchanceforchildren.org


Location: MU (Memorial Union on Hitt)


Confronting the Challenge

First Chance for Children tackles the school readiness gap in several ways:

  • Advocating public policies that help every child arrive at school ready to succeed
  • Mentoring low income parents
  • Helping caregivers improve quality
  • Raising public awareness of the importance of early childhood education
  • Bringing stakeholders and civic leaders together
  • Preventing SIDS and child abuse with our safe cribs and home visits

A Window of Opportunity

Starting early is crucial. Between birth and kindergarten, babies build the mental framework that makes future learning possible.  Parents, parent educators, and caregivers provide the learning experiences, stimulating activities, and nurturing environments that enable a child to thrive intellectually, socially, and physically.  Research has shown that remedial efforts later in life are much less effective and much more costly.

Our Partners Include: