Investing in early care pays off - Pathways LA

8th Feb 2019

Investing in early care pays off


In recent months Universal Pre-K has become a high-profile topic of discussion across the country. Studies have shown that, for those who can access it, early education and development has decades-worth of benefits. Children who attend preschool are more likely to graduate high school, and ultimately the return on investment in early childhood programs generates $4 – $9 per $1 spent. For many vulnerable families, however, the cost of such programs keeps them out of reach, perpetuating an inter-generational cycle of poverty.

Lucero at her West Hollywood Preschool graduation in 2007

For 40 years Pathways LA has provided a financial path for low-income families to access quality early child care. As these children have grown into adults, we have seen firsthand the lasting impact of this investment. Let us share with you Cecilia and Lucero Lopez’s experience.                                       

Cecilia was a single mother looking to place her two year-old daughter, Lucero, in preschool. In need of financial assistance, Pathways LA was able to cover the costs and enroll Lucero at our West Hollywood Preschool. By securing care for her daughter, Cecilia could focus on finding full-time employment and work toward improving her families current circumstances. Cecilia also understood that supporting her daughter’s education at a young age was the key to setting her up for a lifetime of success.

20 years later Cecilia reached out to let us know that Lucero earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego. We recently spoke with Lucero who shared how she felt preschool laid the foundation to her educational achievements. “I was exposed to education early in life, and I believe a quality learning environment at an early age shaped my enjoyment of and success with education.”

Lucero and her mother, Cecilia, enjoy a day at Disneyland

According to the Social Security Administration, women with a bachelor’s degree earn $630,000 more in median lifetime earnings than those with just a high school education, and those with graduate degrees earn $1.1 million more.

Lucero is currently working as the Executive Assistant to the CEO of Rogers & Cowan, a global marketing and public relations agency. Early in her career, Lucero has set her sights high as she tells us, “graduate school is on the horizon.”

A strong educational foundation, hard work, and encouragement from her mother sent Lucero down a path to a bright future. Her story is one of many illustrating how we work with families to break the cycle of poverty.

Pathways LA helps thousands of families each year, allowing parents to improve their current quality of life while offering their children opportunities during their critical developmental stages. Please join us in this effort by making a gift today and ensuring that all children, like Lucero, have access to opportunities that lead to a fulfilling, successful future.