Marcana Enterprises Inc. dba, Children’s Kingdom Learning Center (TX ID #74-302-1301), is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that has been serving the Greater El Paso community since 2004. The Children’s Kingdom Learning Center (CKLC) was created with the purpose of providing high-quality child care for low-income children whose family members wanted to attend school in order to seek economic advancement and acquire specialized skills.
Today, the mission of the Children’s Kingdom Learning Center is to promote and nurture a safe and healthy environment for children and their families that is conducive for learning and the developmental growth of each child we serve regardless of economic status, race, gender, and/or religion. Our curriculum is different from every other early learning center in the border region and is has been especially designed to provide our students with the cognitive, physical, and mental skills to achieve in life.
The CKLC has accomplished the highest rankings available both nationally and within the state of Texas. Children’s Kingdom is a Four-Star Texas Rising Star Facility, a Texas School Ready Partner, and has been nationally accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) since 2010. Our pre-school graduates enter kindergarten reading in both English and Spanish.
Of the 170 children currently served by the Children’s Kingdom Learning Center, 90% are of Hispanic descent, 80% are native Spanish speakers, and 95% live in low income families. At this time, our Learning Center serves children ranging in age from infant through Grade 6. We offer child care, preschool and before- and after-school care Mondays through Fridays.
Over the last thirteen years, as we worked with preschoolers in our school and the older children in our after school programs, we began to identify an even more basic need that was going unmet in our community – hunger. While serving as educators, we soon learned that our children – and many of their family members and neighbors – were frequently not receiving even one nutritious meal a day. To meet this need, our organization became a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) “Contracting Entity”.
As a USDA Contracting Entity, the Children’s Kingdom Café (CKC) now serves more than 3,500 low income children in our community at least one full, nutritious meal each day at almost 100 sites throughout El Paso County. In order to feed this number of children daily, Children’s Kingdom partners with more than 60 other El Paso County not-for-profit and government organizations including the City of El Paso Parks and Recreation Department, libraries, churches, children’s homes, and public school districts.
Challenges and Opportunities
Through the years, the dedicated staff of the Children’s Kingdom has found concrete evidence that, with the right learning environments and with a full stomach, disadvantaged children not only have a better chance of developing good learning habits and life skills, but can also achieve the personal and academic success needed to break the cycle of poverty.
The residents of our border region are hungry – hungry not just for the delicious meals provided by the Café, but hungry for the one-of-a-kind educational and economic opportunities that the Children’s Kingdom organization provides.
Aida Clark, an inspirational woman who remembers what it was like to grow up hungry and impoverished in Brazil, has served as President of the Children’s Kingdom since 2004. Mrs. Clark says that the worst part of her job is “having to say no” to all the other nonprofit managers that ask for her to feed the children they serve. She also hates having to tell a parent that the classes are full at the Learning Center or that she doesn’t have space in an after-school program.
Primarily due to the limitation of our current facility on Wyoming Avenue in Central El Paso, but also because of budget considerations which have the organization providing all of these services with a staff of fewer than 50 and only five food service vans, every week the Children’s Kingdom has to say “no” to from between two and four other organizations – any thousands of at-risk individuals — requesting meals, early childhood education, or other forms of assistance.
The Proposed Campaign
The Children’s Kingdom seeks to better serve our border region and help meet ensure that thousands of additional children in West Texas and Southern New Mexico have access to top-quality day-care and pre-school education and do not go hungry. To this end, over the next two years the CK seeks to conduct a professionally-managed comprehensive fundraising campaign which will enable it to meet the following goals:
- Acquire 40,000 – 60,000 square feet of space to house the Children’s Kingdom Learning Center, the Children’s Kingdom Café , and administrative offices;
- Secure additional vans and refrigerated trucks,
- Develop an idea lab for the design of best practices in early childhood education;
- Provide greater access to hands-on career training in early childhood and elementary education;
- Expand the food programs to a larger geographic area incorporating all of West TX and Southern NM;
- Extend the food programs to other nonprofit organizations not currently served (such as area homeless shelters); and
- Provide residential services, educational programs, and job training for young adults who have transitioned out of the foster care system.
The Call to Action
Although we have been blessed in so many ways, growing exponentially and remaining financially strong in our thirteen years of existence, the Children’s Kingdom cannot address these challenges and opportunities without the support of individual donors, corporations, foundations, and organizational and governmental partners. We need YOU – and others like you — who love children, value education, abhor hunger, and want to see our border region’s educational levels rise, poverty rates fall, and quality of life improve.
The Children’s Kingdom Learning Center and Café proposes conducting a comprehensive campaign with a $5-million goal over the next two years. Achievement of this fundraising goal will enable us to:
- serve thousands more children each and every day (as noted in the table below):
- meet our urgent current needs, strategically plan for the next twenty years, and remain fiscally-secure; and
- be able to say “YES” to the many not-for-profit and public entities that would benefit from partnering with us.
|Current Recipients||Future Recipients|
Note: The number of children served in the food program is only limited by the organization’s facility capability.
The expansion of our facility will automatically create opportunities for several feeding sites to take advantage of the program.
|Afterschool Meal Program: 3,000 low income children served daily
Summer Food Program:
3,500 low income children served daily
Afterschool Meal Program:
6,000 low income children served daily
Summer Food Program:
6,000 + low income children served daily
|Child Care Program
|120 students||300 students|
|After School Care
|50 students||150 students|
|Life Bridge Transitional Living
|—||50 foster young adults exiting the system|
|Life Bridge Career Center
|—||250 community members|
Comprehensive Campaign Components and Budget
Campaign Component Estimated Cost
Building Purchase $2,500,000
Building Renovation $ 200,000
Endowment $ 540,000
Programs and Projects $ 760,000
Operating Funds $ 500,000
Overhead $ 500,000
(includes Campaign Expenses)
TOTAL PROPOSED GOAL $5,000,000