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Meet Laura Laura’s mom will never forget her daughter’s fourth birthday. When she went to pick Laura up from her United Way Bright Beginnings child care center, Laura told her she had a surprise. “I sat down with her and she opened a book and started reading to me,” she remembers. “I was blown away!” Laura began attending a United Way Bright Beginnings center when she was two years old. The curriculum, hands- on learning and child-centered lessons immediately made a difference. In Bright Beginnings, Laura’s social and emotional skills blossomed. She developed a genuine interest in exploring the world around her, discovered a love of math and reading, and started building the skills that would make her a good student. Laura’s mom knows that in United Way Bright Beginnings, Laura got something she wouldn’t have gotten in another child care program—the foundation she needed to start school. “I looked at other centers and the kids weren’t learning,” she says. “To find Bright Beginnings in this neighborhood is just awesome. It gave my daughter an education that I wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise.” Laura’s mom has no doubt United Way Bright Beginnings prepared her daughter to start school, but she also credits Bright Beginnings with helping Laura develop diverse interests. In addition to math and reading, Laura likes softball and soccer, and, she takes dance classes. But, Laura’s real passion is animals. She wants to be a veterinarian one day. For now, Laura works hard at school and helps take care of Lucy, the family dog. “What you have helped bring into this community has helped my child build a solid foundation that no one is going to be able to take away from her,” Myrna says. “My husband and I really believe it has helped her achieve what she has so far. Her grades prove it. She’s an honor roll student.”