why we exist

Each year over 15,000 babies are born in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach. Many start their lives with family and health challenges they may never overcome.

  • Nearly 1,500 babies have low-birth weights that cause health complications
  • 136 of them will not live to see their first birthday
  • Approximately 57% will live in poverty
  • 40% will be raised by single mothers
  • Nearly half will spend their first five years in informal childcare


As many as 16% of these children enter kindergarten not ready to learn. Studies show that children who start school without the social, emotional and educational skills to succeed will fall behind. And, they likely will never catch up with their peers. This can set the stage for children to struggle for a lifetime.

Many area families, especially those living in poverty, have no access to programs and services that exist to help them and their children. This barrier strains families and create long-lasting negative impact on their children.

Why We Exist Highlights:

  • We are regional and are starting an emphasis on families in five Hampton Roads cities: Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach.
  • We are focused on helping whole child -- physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively.
  • We believe that by helping economically disadvantaged families we can improve early care and education for all area children and families.