The Spring Branch Family Development Center strives to be a conduit for collaboration – not only among our many on-site service providers, but also for businesses, individuals, and community groups who desire to serve. 
Over the years, several groups have approached our SBFDC leadership with ideas to partner with SBISD’s Panda Path, our on-site preschool. Chapelwood UMCThe Kinkaid School, and Seitel delight us with their concern for the children, creativity to generate educational programs, and commitment to partnering over the long-term.
Many initiatives with Panda Path revolve around literacy. Exposure to reading is foundational to  children’s development of language and vocabulary, the ability to learn new skills, and their future success.
For over a decade, Chapelwood UMC members have ensured that each child at Panda Path has an adult read aloud to them every week – this commitment has impacted over 1300 students with 90,000+ minutes of reading time!

Several years ago, the Kinkaid 3rd grade class started a partnership to read to Panda Path students each year. The Kinkaid students bring a book for every Panda Path student to take home, along with books for the classrooms.

Both schools benefit from the collaboration. The younger Panda Path kids benefit from seeing older kids reading to them, and it shows the Kinkaid 3rd graders that their learning is useful! A Kinkaid teacher recounted that she saw a struggling student come alive, last year, while interacting with the Panda Path students and witnessed a marked difference in their confidence and focus in class, afterward!

Another sweet story came out of The Kinkaid School, recently. Having been a part of his school’s expressions of corporate generosity, a kindergartner, Oliver, decided to run a lemonade stand and to give all his proceeds to Panda Path.

How beautiful to see the values of service and generosity sinking into this young man!

Last fall, the Kinkaid students brought their Halloween candy to their school in a “candy buy back” program sponsored by a local dentist. Dr. Harrison sent the candy to soldiers serving overseas, and she donated a dollar per pound of candy to the students’ group of choice – they chose Panda Path.

One of the SBFDC’s former board members connected Seitel employees with Panda Path many years ago, which resulted in Seitel  “adopting” Panda Path. Seitel sponsors several events during the school year, including a visit from Santa Claus, a field day, and a live reenactment of “The Cat in the Hat” to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. 

During “The Cat in the Hat” reenactment, the narrator reads aloud, and Seitel employees inspire the imagination of the children through their costumes and acting. At the end of the show, the children are gifted a “Cat in the Hat” book – signed by the Cat in the Hat, along with Thing 1 and Thing 2.

What started as a way to inspire wonder and literacy at Panda Path, now, hasmultiplied to other schools in Spring Branch, and has encouraged more businesses to adopt local schools

We are thankful for our community members and the dedication of time, treasure, and talent to benefit our community, and we are grateful to serve as a conduit of collaboration in those efforts.