Detroit, U.S.A. — Six events, from Grosse Pointe Park to Traverse City, will be held this summer to create life-changing opportunities for some of Michigan’s children.
The nonprofit Michigan Women’s Caring Program today announced dates for six annual summertime parties, called Twilight Gatherings, across the state. It’s a “girl’s night out” unlike any other to raise funds, celebrate friendship, and raise a glass of wine to Michigan’s future generation.
The events help support scholarships for children from age birth to 5 from working families across Michigan who earn too much for governmental childcare assistance but can’t afford high-quality early care and education.
“Again and again, research shows that early education pays off exponentially for children, helping prepare them for future success,” said Colleen Robar, president of the Women’s Caring Program. “We know that disadvantaged children who start school behind their middle-class peers do not catch up. Having that strong preschool experience has a lifelong, positive impact on the children we serve.”
The heart of WCP’s mission is supporting early childhood education through licensed quality child care for working poor families across Michigan. WCP is one of Michigan’s premier advocates for early care and education. Building upon a historically strong base of corporate and individual support, the Ann Arbor-based nonprofit has magnified its impact in recent years, attracting several major grants, including pilot projects to guide quality improvements at child care centers.
WCP’s traditional annual garden party, the Twilight Gathering, sprouted from a small front porch gathering of women in 1979 with the initial goal of expanding their circle of friends. Each year thereafter, friends invited more friends, and more than three decades later the Twilight Gatherings attract hundreds of women statewide for a festive evening of spirited laughter and mingling in gorgeous outdoor settings.
In 1995, the Women’s Caring Program became a registered nonprofit to support its signature program, ChildCare Commitment, Michigan’s only statewide program of its kind. In total, the nonprofit has awarded over $2 million to families in 77 of the 83 Michigan counties, up from 64 counties in 2011.
This year, Twilight Gathering sites range from lovely private homes in Grosse Pointe Park, West Bloomfield, Lansing and Grand Rapids to a grand estate turned bed & breakfast in Battle Creek and a historic tavern in Traverse City that’s celebrating its 130th anniversary.
“These events are fun and have a reputation as wonderful networking opportunities. We’re hoping to renew old friendships and attract new supporters and volunteers to become part of a delightful 33-year tradition,” said Women’s Caring Program CEO Nancy Jennings.
Robar added: “Our strength is the support of an incredibly strong network of women across the state who understand that the educational and social experiences children have starting at birth have a direct impact on how ready they are for kindergarten and, ultimately, their success as adults and our success as a society. What investment could be better than that?”