Raising a family in NYC can seem like an almost impossible task, at least financially anyway. Despite the advantage of being in a two income family, my salary as a social worker (working in a 'helping profession' with low-income children and families) really doesn't contribute as much as needed towards helping my own family make ends meet. Like many NYC families, we take shortcuts whenever possible and are a family of four living in a one bedroom apartment. However, being someone who has spent a lifetime working with children I am aware of how essential quality early childhood education is. Receiving financial aid for my daughter to attend Red Balloon allows us not to have to cut corners in this vital area. Throughout her time at Red Balloon i have seen my daughter grow emotionally, socially, and intellectually. The staff is supportive while encouraging growth and independence. The curriculum allows for both instruction of new material and independent play. My husband and I continue to be extremely grateful that we are able to provide our daughter with this opportunity.