b'Strengthening families Early Learning ScholarshipsThink Small is committed to improving families access to high-quality care by administering early learning scholarships in Hennepin and Ramsey counties. Early learning scholarships are a proven, targeted approach for our littlest learners and their families.Helping Families ThriveBertha Pollard, and her husband Cornet, never dreamed theyd be taking over legal custody of their six grandchildren, butve years ago, due to unexpected circumstances, thats exactly what happened. Now in their 70s, the two are raising the kids, ages four to 17, in their New Hope home.We had no intention of taking care of children at this stage in our lives, Pollard said. But if we didnt, they would have gone into the system, and we couldnt have that.Bertha had a full-time job at North Memorial Hospital and knew her youngest grandchildren would need child care. There was no way the family could afford the $600 plus a week it would cost for the three children to attend a quality program. A co-worker told her about Think Small and early learning scholarships which made it possible for the family to gain access to a high-quality, four-star Parent Aware rated child care center. The three youngest grandchildren, Janais (now 9), Ivelisse (now 7) and Chancellor (now 4) all attended School-Readiness Learning Academy (SRLA), a licensed child care center in Minneapolis. Chancellor, the youngest, is still there, thanks to his early learning scholarship. Pollard said he knows his ABCs, he can write his name and is working hard to read. He even knows some sign language and Spanish.The scholarships help us with funding, but also with the education of the children. When they come away from SRLA, they are ready for kindergarten, Pollard said. Janais and Ivelisse scored high in their elementary classes because they were so advancedthanks to their early childhood experience.Pollard says the children are thriving and she couldnt be more grateful for the opportunity early learning scholarships have provided her family.It has been a journey, Pollard added. But when Think Small came along, it was one big relief. I dont know what we would have done without it. I really appreciate the help.'