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City of Springfield News Releases (General)

Posted on: May 2, 2023

Mayor's Commission on Children partners with Give 5


Springfield’s Mayor’s Commission on Children is hoping to parlay the success of the local Give 5 program to match highly skilled and passionate retirees with childcare providers hoping to retain and support workers. 

The most recent Give 5 Class 21 will visit CoxHealth’s Learning Center South on Thursday, May 4, and hear from leaders why their support is needed. Media are invited to attend the presentation by members of the Commission from 12:25 – 1 p.m. at Cox’s Meyer Orthopedic and Rehab Center Ozark Room, (3535 S. National Ave.)

Give 5 is a “civic matchmaking” program hosted by United Way of the Ozarks that connects soon-to-be-retirees and retirees with meaningful volunteer opportunities that best fit their skill sets and passions. More than 350 people from Greene County have graduated since the program began in 2017.

“We hope with this pilot program is that these volunteer classroom aides from the Give 5 program will make teachers feel more supported, as well as be a benefit to both the children and the retirees,” said Brigitte Marrs, executive director of the Mayor’s Commission on Children.

The classroom aides can volunteer at whichever location is most convenient and for however much time they want. The CoxHealth learning centers have flexible hours to meet the needs of hospital’s employees, so volunteers from the Give 5 program will also have some flexibility. The Cox South Learning Center is open on weekends, and both are open a bit later, on weekdays than most childcare providers. Volunteers will receive training from a CoxHealth professional.

The volunteer classroom aides will not be counted as staff as far as the state’s teacher-to-child ratio requirements, Marrs explained, however, having an extra set of hands to help rock or feed a baby or to play with a toddler would make such a difference for staff at the learning centers.

Dr. Doug McNeal, a retired developmental pediatrician and member of the Mayor’s Commission for Children, is among the presenters. 

 "The project is designed to support early childhood learning programs that have been shown to improve kindergarten readiness for many of our children,” Dr. McNeal said.  
If the pilot program is successful, Marrs and Give 5 founder Greg Burris, President and CEO of United Way of the Ozarks, says it will expand to other childcare providers in the community. 

Give 5 alums are invited to hear about the opportunity at 3:30 p.m., Thursday May 4 at Missouri Job Center, 2900 E. Sunshine. Media are invited to attend this session as well.

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For more information, contact Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, City of Springfield, at 417-380-3352 or [email protected].

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