Ta’Lisha’s Story (Updated December 2023)

One Cornerstone Family’s Story

This December, we invite you to read this heartfelt letter by Ta’Lisha Franklin, our Center Director, which details her story and her journey with Cornerstone Center for Early Learning.

Dear Friends,

Happy holidays to you and yours. I’m writing with deep gratitude for the difference you have made in my life and in the lives of my children.

My name is Ta’Lisha Franklin. I have been a member of the Cornerstone community for about 15 years. Before I came to Cornerstone, I was a single parent with two preschool-age children. I was also a full-time student at Harris Stowe State College taking 18 credit hours per semester. I was in great need of an early childhood center that had extended hours of care. My neighbor at the time told me to check out Cornerstone, so I did. This was one of the best choices I ever made.

As a parent, Cornerstone helped my family so much. My two children were in a safe, nurturing learning environment at a price I could afford, even on my income at the time of only $292 per month; a true blessing. They were fed two nutritious meals and a snack each day, which helped to ensure that my children stayed healthy at a time when our money for food barely stretched from month to month. Cornerstone’s donation table was also a huge help in my household. This is part of a program in which families contribute items they no longer need for other Cornerstone families who can use them. A lot of my children’s clothes and sports equipment came from that table. In return, I put many items back on the table after my kids outgrew them.

My family also received assistance through Cornerstone’s holiday adoption program. The person that adopted our family provided household necessities, utility assistance, gifts, and food. My kids woke up that Christmas morning so happy. They had never seen that many gifts under the tree. I was extremely happy because my kids were happy.

Then, Cornerstone offered an opportunity to advance my career. In 2008, Cornerstone hired me as a preschool teacher. During my time as an educator, I learned how to create a fun, engaging learning environment that helps every child reach their full potential. I was also able to continue going to school and earn my masters degree.

Today, I am Cornerstone’s Center Director. I make sure that our teachers have the support they need to provide enriching care and education for Cornerstone children and support parents and caregivers in setting and achieving goals that make a difference in their children’s lives. My daughter, now 22, is enrolled at Forest Park Community College for Culinary Arts. My son, now 21, recently graduated with his degree in Information Technology and is working at World Wide Technology in the Configuration Department. Cornerstone has been a huge support for my family, and now I get to be a part of that support for others.

To all of you who have provided financial assistance to Cornerstone Center for Early Learning, thank you for making our story possible. At this time of year, Cornerstone asks for and greatly appreciates your continued generosity. For those of you who have not yet provided financial support but are receiving this letter because of your involvement and interest in Cornerstone Center, we ask for and greatly appreciate your first-time financial support.

On behalf of Cornerstone and all who benefit from its services, I ask: Will you help strengthen more families like mine with a year-end donation?

With sincere appreciation and warm wishes,

~ Ta’Lisha

P.S. With this letter, Cornerstone is introducing a monthly giving program. When you give monthly, you support the backbone of the work we do here at Cornerstone–our teachers. Your  monthly gift will provide ongoing means to fund approximately 30 teachers’ annual increases and classroom upgrades not covered by Cornerstone’s budget or grant monies. This program will help keep our curriculum strong by allowing us to hire and retain caring, high-quality educators for Cornerstone children. Visit our Donate page to find out how you can give back. 

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