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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Every Tuesday, as part of our Community Changers series, we highlight organizations making Memphis better. This week, we caught up with a group that believes in being a resource when it comes to early childhood education.

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When you walk the halls of Porter-Leath and the University of Memphis Early Childhood Academy at Orange Mound, you find very intentional play spaces.

Porter-Leath is a nonprofit organization that empowers children and families to achieve a healthy, optimal and independent lifestyle.

Laquita Cole, site manager of the preschool in Orange Mound, says they are getting students ready for Kindergarten. “If a child is in specifically in quality programs, and they’re receiving what they need, they are better prepared for kindergarten. They’re more successful between kindergarten and third grade and become great readers and learners.”

Porter-Leath also has preschools in South Memphis, Parkway Village and two in Frayser. They believe access to affordable early childhood education is crucial.  

Emma Zyriek-Rhodes’ daughter, Jackson Grace, has been attending the preschool for six months. “My husband and I are pretty young parents. We’re both working. It’s a struggle to figure out how to afford childcare.”

Emma loves that it’s a safe and affordable place for her daughter to thrive. “Being in a space where she gets to interact with lots of different people is so important to her development.”

“That is key to not only the flourishing of the child but also the flourishing of the parents. It’s key to economic mobility,” said Emma.

That is why Brown Missionary Baptist Church wanted to give Porter-Leath $1,000 because you should always have affordable options for quality childhood education. No matter where you live.

A true community changer.  

For more information about Porter-Leath, visit their website here.