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‘Yellowstone’ creator Taylor Sheridan praises North Texas child care nonprofit at ceremony

Fort Worth Star-Telegram - 10/13/2022

Investors, community members and celebrity advocates Nicole and Taylor Sheridan gathered in Fort Worth on Thursday to discuss the importance of child care, and recognize local leaders who have supported the sector in recent years.

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley and Commissioner Roy C. Brooks were given Early Childhood Leadership awards, along with an organizational award for PNC Bank.

“We are honored to stand with Mayor (Mattie) Parker in supporting Child Care Associates and its critical work investing in children, families and the future of Fort Worth,” Nicole and Taylor Sheridan said in a written statement before the ceremony, which was followed by a luncheon.

Taylor Sheridan, known for starring in “Sons of Anarchy” and co-creating the popular Paramount Network TV drama “Yellowstone” and related shows like “1883,” is a Paschal High School graduate and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2017 for writing the West Texas-set film “Hell or High Water,” starring Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges.

He owns and operates two ranches in his home state: the legendary 6666 Ranch, headquartered in Guthrie, and Bosque Ranch in Weatherford, according to the Fort Worth Film Commission.

Celebrity guests highlight importance of early childhood education

During the program, Taylor Sheridan shared his passion for the Fort Worth and North Texas community, starting with its youngest residents.

As parents, he and his wife, Nicole, “learned first-hand the benefits of early childhood education and its positive lasting effects on development,” he said.

Also at the ceremony was Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker, who said efforts must continue to “provide our children and families the best possible early education options and surrounding support services to assure stronger families and stronger futures in Fort Worth.”

“We are fortunate to have the Sheridans and many other local leaders together with CCA working hard to keep these issues front and center,” she added.

Blue Ribbon Action Committee making progress

Child Care Associates’ President and CEO Kara Waddell shared updates about the work of the Blue Ribbon Action Committee to Advance Child Care, an initiative announced at least year’s luncheon.

“Our community has rallied around the impact of early education,” she said. “Now we have the opportunity to roll up our sleeves and help build up our community’s child care programs.”

Major proposals recommended by the committee have moved forward since it was formed, including investments of 11% of the county’s $408 million in COVID relief funds in three projects to strengthen child care.

One proposal aims to bring all eligible child care providers receiving state subsidies onto the state Quality Rating and Improvement System, Texas Rising Star, which requires providers to meet quality standards on things like director training, teacher-child interactions and indoor and outdoor environments.

The county’s $2 million investment for this effort builds on $3 million in funding from Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County to strengthen child care businesses and expand child care quality.

Another $15 million was approved to help stabilize businesses that are already on the quality rating program, expand their access to resources and identify what the true cost of providing quality child care is so they can find sustainable ways to fund it beyond the current infusion of federal dollars.

The largest tranche of money proposed by the committee and approved by commissioners, $28 million, is set to go towards efforts to expand and maximize resources for infant-toddler classrooms.

At a County Commission meeting earlier this year, Waddell pointed out wide swaths of Tarrant County with no available, affordable infant-toddler care.

According to a presentation, to maximize existing infrastructure and resources, the county and Child Care Associates will seek partnerships with municipalities, school districts, higher education and other public entities with a goal of doubling the county’s investment of $28 million and adding 50 new infant-toddler classrooms in high-need neighborhoods.

Bank awarded for investing in early childhood initiative

Brooks, the Tarrant County commissioner, said in remarks after receiving his award that he has long been a supporter of early childhood education, and the long-reaching power it has.

“It is the only way to get us out of generation poverty,” he said. “The way out is the educate our way out, and you can’t start early enough.”

PNC Bank was also recognized at the ceremony for local and national investments in early childhood education.

According to a press release, the bank partnered with Child Care Associates through the investment of more than $200,000 toward nature-filled classrooms, natural outdoor playscapes and COVID-19 supplies for child care programs.

Nationally, the organization has invested millions of dollars in a program focused on children age 0-5.

“Founded in 2004, we have developed PNC Grow up Great into a $500 million initiative dedicated to serving children from birth to age five, particularly underserved children, by empowering and supporting their caregivers and teachers,” Dale Klose, PNC southwest and mountain regions territory executive, said in a statement. “The opportunity to work with Kara Waddell and Child Care Associates to bring the resources, tools, and advocacy of PNC Grow Up Great to life in Tarrant County has helped us collectively impact our youngest Texans and their families.”

This story contains reporting from the Star-Telegram’s archives.

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