When Mary Alice and Kent Warner and Allen Clark founded 5 Steps to Five in Port Chester in April 2014, they knew <what> they wanted to do and <why>, they just weren’t so sanguine about <how>. Now into its fourth year, this not-for-profit, early child education program knows very much how and is getting well-deserved recognition.

Earlier this month, the Council of Community Services of Port Chester, Rye Town and Rye Brook awarded Special Recognition to the three founders for their “visionary approach to Early Childhood Development.” Joining in with individual proclamations were Congresswoman Nita Lowey, State Assemblyman Steve Otis, Rye Town Supervisor Gary Zuckerman, Port Chester Mayor Richard Falanka, and the Westchester Board of Legislators, who topped it off by naming June 7 “Kent and Mary Alice Warner Day” and “Allen Clark Day.”

The founders announced that 5 Steps to Five has incorporated as a 501(c)3 and is forming its first board of directors. The program will continue to use Westchester Community Opportunity Program’s Head Start instructors and classrooms, but WestCOP will no longer manage the payroll and supplies. Instead, the founders announced that they have arranged a partnership with the Carver Center, which has already taken over payroll management. One or more of Carver’s staff will be on the new 5 Steps to Five Board.

In more good news, attendance at 5 Steps Saturday morning sessions has increased to more than 170 different families, a major leap from the first 12 weeks in 2014, when just seven families were enrolled. In early June, over 100 people attended weekly – 45 parents, 45 infants, and many siblings, who are accommodated in separate rooms.

“Our biggest job now,” said Allen Clark, “is to engage interested, concerned residents of Rye in the program, help build awareness in Port Chester and other communities, especially Greenwich; work on selecting and ordering new books for monthly distribution; grant writing and financial management; and add-on events like baby showers for new moms in the program. We continue to need funding, but it’s equally important that we broaden our support base in Rye.”

— Rye Record staff

                                    – Members of Rye Record Staff