Delores Greene-Price is program manager for Bon Secours Family Focus, which provides an array of support services to parents in Hampton Roads. Her office is in Newport News, but on Wednesday, July 17, Ms. Greene-Price tackled rush hour to reach the Chesapeake campus of Tidewater Community College for the EVMS Minus 9 to 5 Work Group Summit. 

“I’ve been a member of the Minus 9 to 5’s Thriving Families working group for about a year now,” she says. Explaining why she devotes time to the organization, she says, “Being involved with Minus 9 to 5 helps me learn what else is going on in the community so my program doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel.” 

That sentiment was echoed by the 90-plus attendees who joined Ms. Greene-Price at the recent summit. Together they represent Minus 9 to 5’s growing network of multi-disciplinary providers, hospitals, clinics and other advocates who are committed to improving early care and education for children in South Hampton Roads. 

Established in 2016, Minus 9 to 5 is a community-led collective impact initiative that was formed to equip and support the region’s families to raise children who are healthy, thriving and ready to learn. 

“Each year over 15,000 babies are born in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach,” says Jane Elyce Glasgow, PhD, Executive Director of Minus 9 to 5. “Many start their lives with family and health challenges they may never overcome. Studies show that children who start school without the social, emotional and educational skills to succeed will fall behind. This can set the stage for children to struggle for a lifetime.” 

She explains that 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 can have a long-lasting negative impact on their children.” 

Improving access to the region’s family-support programs and services is a priority for Minus 9 to 5 stakeholders. To that end, at the July summit, Minus 9 to 5’s six working groups reported on their latest accomplishments and goals. That segment was followed by the presentation, “Equity in Collective Impact 101.” Then attendees broke into small groups to review data related to Minus 9 to 5’s mission and suggest action steps for improvement. 

“Our mission,” Dr. Glasgow says, “is to identify and bridge the gaps in our current system, to fill holes where necessary and to expand services to all families. Our goal is to ensure that South Hampton Roads’ families thrive and their children are healthy and enter school ready to learn and succeed. We couldn’t do that without the hard work and dedication of our working group members. They help us make things happen that no one organization could accomplish on its own.” 

Learn how to get involved with Minus 9 to 5.

Learn about Minus 9 to 5’s Countdown to Kindergarten campaign.

Learn about Minus 9 to 5’s impact in its latest annual report.