On Tuesday, LIFT Orlando broke ground on its latest revitalization project in the 32805 zip code — a state-of-the-art early learning center located in the heart of the West Lakes community.
Funded in part by a $12.75 million donation from the Bainum Family Foundation procured through a partnership with AdventHealth for Children, the early learning center is being built on a vacant 1.3-acre lot adjacent to Orange Center Elementary.
“It was our desire to do what we can in order to make a mark in helping early childhood (education) — an important focus, not just in our local communities but across the nation,” Bainum Family Foundation COO David Daniels said at the event.
“It’s important for us to understand that when we think about the children and what they’re able to bring forth for generations to come, that we’re able to partner with the community leaders to make that happen right here.”
In addition to Daniels, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, District 5 Commissioner Regina Hill, Primrose Schools Chief School Excellence Officer Annette Heng and AdventHealth for Children COO Deb Spielman were on hand for the groundbreaking.
“You may wonder why is AdventHealth for Children getting involved in an early learning center?” Spielman said. “The answer is simple — we know that the first five years of a child’s life are the most precious and the most important to their long term health and success. And the evidence continues to be revealed in study after study.”
The West Lakes early learning center will serve 220 children ages six weeks through 5 years old and is expected to open prior to the start of the 2019-20 school year.
“I was in the legislature when there was a guy that was governor named Lawton Chiles, and his signature issue that he drummed into us every day was the importance of early childhood learning — being able to predict who’s going to be successful by third grade and eighth grade,” Dyer said.
“Who’s going to have a college career and who’s going to have a criminal career is often formed in those very early years, so this may be the most important piece of the entire West Lakes project.”
To learn more about LIFT Orlando, visit LIFTOrlando.org.