About Us


Ready to Grow St. Joe
is a collection of local educators, service providers, business people, parents and families, elected officials, data experts and philanthropists dedicated to ensuring positive early childhood experiences. We are committed to ensuring that all children in St. Joseph County, birth to age eight, are provided the necessary foundations to thrive in school and in life. We work through our members to engage the community, build systems and empower families, with efforts focused on Quality Early Learning, Health & Wellness, and Family Support.

Vision: In St. Joseph County, our children will thrive in school and in life.

Mission: We coordinate a system of support for the young children and families of St. Joseph County.

Core Values:

We honor and celebrate young children. Early childhood, birth to eight years old, is a period of intense development and learning with long-term effects on well-being. In order to flourish, young children need caring adults to provide for their health and safety, social and emotional needs, and cognitive development. Our overarching goal is to ensure that the children of St. Joseph County have these needs met so they are prepared to thrive throughout their lives.

We honor and support parents, families and communities. Parents, families and communities are a young child’s most important nurturers, teachers and advocates. We work together to hear all views, understand all dreams and challenges, embrace all cultures, and provide opportunities for enrichment and support.

 We honor and empower professionals in early childhood care and education. Basing our work on knowledge of how children develop and learn, we support research-based practices, professional development opportunities, evaluation and continuous improvement. In collaboration with other professional organizations, we work to elevate the field of early childhood care and education.

 We honor and engage all members of Ready to Grow St. Joe. Our leadership must be transparent and responsive, building trust so that all members work together effectively on the priorities of the Coalition as a whole. We are committed to establishing specific plans, measuring and publicizing outcomes, and making strategic adjustments to our priorities and approaches.

 We honor and believe in St. Joseph County. We bring leaders from multiple sectors to the table and provide sound leadership so that our community will come together to create a comprehensive, accountable early childhood system. This will benefit our region in innumerable ways, both now and in the future.

Community agencies currently involved in our work:

  • 4C’s
  • Apple Tree Learning Center
  • Bethel College
  • Beacon Health System
  • Better World Books
  • Brightpoint
  • Catholic Charities of Ft. Wayne-South Bend
  • Catholic Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend
  • The Center for the Homeless
  • Center for Social Concerns, University of Notre Dame
  • Christ Child Society of South Bend
  • City of South Bend
  • The Community Foundation of St. Joseph County
  • The Dental Center
  • Early Childhood Alliance
  • Early Childhood Development Center at Notre Dame & St. Mary’s College
  • Early Childhood Professionals of Northern Indiana (ECPNI)
  • Early Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC)
  • Early Learning Center at Granger Community Church 
  • Early Learning Indiana
  • El Campito Child Development Center
  • Elkhart & St. Joseph Counties Head Start Consortium
  • The Excel Center at Goodwill 
  • Family & Children’s Center, Healthy Families
  • The Family Connection of St. Joseph County
  • Fathers First
  • Friends Early Learning Center
  • Goodwill of Northern Indiana
  • Growing Kids Learning Center
  • Hannah’s House
  • The Hearing & Speech Center
  • Hope Ministries
  • Horizon Education Alliance
  • Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children (IAEYC)
  • Indiana Department of Education
  • Indiana House of Representatives
  • Indiana University South Bend
  • Ivy Tech Community College
  • Junior Achievement
  • The Junior League of South Bend
  • Kiwanis International
  • Lab for Economic Development, University of Notre Dame
  • La Casa de Amistad 
  • Lippert Components
  • MD-Wise
  • Memorial Hospital
  • Monroe Circle Community Center (MC3)
  • Northeast Indiana First Steps
  • Oaklawn
  • Parents As Teachers
  • Penn-Harris-Madison Schools
  • Pinter Consulting
  • Potawatomi Zoo 
  • Plymouth High School
  • PNC Bank
  • Purdue Extension
  • Read Baby Read
  • The Renaissance District
  • Robinson Community Learning Center
  • South Bend Community School Corporation
  • South Bend Education Foundation
  • South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • School City of Mishawaka
  • Southgate Church
  • Specialized Alternatives for Families & Youth (SAFY)
  • SJC Cares
  • Special Needs & Abilities Preschool, South Bend
  • St. Joseph County Public Library
  • St. Joseph County Health Department
  • St. Joseph Preschool
  • St. Margaret’s House
  • Stanley Clark School
  • Talk With Your Baby
  • United Religious Community
  • United Way of St. Joseph County
  • Warren Primary Center
  • WNIT Public Television
  • Youth Service Bureau
  • YWCA of North Central Indiana