Park Alliance for Young Children is a non-profit organization in Park County that was developed by leaders in the early childhood community. Park Alliance for Young Children was initially developed to fulfill Colorado mandates for oversight committees related to early childhood programs. The Alliance, known as PAYC, quickly expanded its scope and became a non-profit organization, giving the group the ability to apply for early childhood grants.
The mission statement for PAYC is: To coordinate a group of parents and service providers to better meet the needs of Park County’s young children and their families, and to promote the creative utilization of existing resources and the development of additional resources.
There are currently four focus areas within this mission statement. The first area of focus is health and fitness. PAYC works with Park County Public Health to improve immunization rates within the county early childhood programs. PAYC has also partnered with Mountain Resource Center to bring Cooking Matters classes into Park County. Cooking Matters classes teach parents how to provide healthy, delicious meals from scratch on a budget.
The second focus area is coordinated screenings. These screenings are for vision, hearing, behavior, and developmental including speech and language, fine and gross motor, and cognitive development. Any family in Park County may access screenings for free through their local school district Child Find program. Child Find for Park County School District RE-2 is located at Edith Teeter Preschool. Child Find for Platte Canyon School District RE-1 is located at Deer Creek Preschool. A family can find information to access screenings on their local school district website.
The third focus area is parent support and education. PAYC brings parenting classes to Park County. Efforts in this focus area have included Flip It classes in Fairplay at Edith Teeter Preschool and in Bailey at Deer Creek Preschool. Flip It classes have a training component for staff working with young children and a component for parents of young children. Due to COVID restrictions, parenting classes are currently on hold. Any family can still access parenting help individually through an early childhood mental health provider. Please call your local school district for information on accessing early childhood mental health.
The final focus of PAYC is to increase quality and availability of childcare and early education. PAYC supports district preschools in Bailey, Fairplay and Lake George through grants and ongoing education for staff. Licensed childcare homes in Park County can also access these classes. PAYC will also help an individual interested in becoming a licensed childcare home.
Members of PAYC meet monthly, alternating between Bailey and Fairplay. Those interested in becoming members of PAYC can access any services or obtain more information by contacting Park Alliance for Young Children Coordinator Amy Carman at 303-204-1795.