Media Contact:  

Megan Mansouri 

314-531-1412 ext. 156 


United 4 Children Recognizes ECE Champions 

ST.LOUIS, MISSOURI (9/3/2021) United 4 Children, today, announces the recipients of three community-nominated awards: Childcare Provider Champion, Community Champion, and Contributor Champion. The organization will present these awards at its Lighting the Way Gala on September 9.  

Childcare Champion: Cathy Cox 

The Childcare Champion Award recognizes an outstanding provider of early childhood education. Cathy Cox retired this summer after running her own childcare program in south St. Louis City for more than four decades. She has worked with United 4 Children for many years, participating in Nutrition Services for more than 34 years. When Cathy started her childcare business, she was licensed for 10 children. She quickly learned that her community needed more quality childcare available. In response to that need, she decided to research what it would take to be licensed to care for 20 children instead of 10. She dug up her entire basement to refinish it to meet licensing guidelines for ceiling height. And after being licensed to care for 20 children, Cathy found a catering company to provide healthy meals for the children she served. She truly embodies Untied 4 Children’s core values of community, trust, equity, and empathy. 

Community Champion: S.T.A.R. Coaching 

The Community Champion Award recognizes a St. Louis nonprofit, designated 501(c)(3), that joins in the work of elevating early childhood education. S.T.A.R. Coaching, founded by Adrienne Pennington and Tina Mosley, works to support early childhood educators throughout their career path. As one nominator described, S.T.A.R. Coaching has their thumb on the pulse of the community. They see, feel, and know what the ECE community needs. S.T.A.R. Coaching truly embodies Untied 4 Children’s core values of community, trust, equity, and empathy. They know how to show empathy to early childhood educators because they themselves are educators. They have shown their value of community in the relationships they have built around the region with other childcare programs. 

The Contributor Champion: Vision for Children at Risk (VCR) 

The Contributor Champion Award recognizes a financial giving institution that supports early childhood education in the region. For more than two decades, VCR has dedicated their work to supporting children, families, and the community, with a particular focus on children at risk of being impacted by socio-economic and racial inequity. VCR’s four-pronged approach — informing the community with data and research, promoting collaborative action, engaging and supporting families, and advocating for child well-being through policy and community investment — thoroughly addresses the needs of children in early childhood education. Through Project LAUNCH, VCR supports community organizations that are aligned with this approach. VCR is committed to “fostering the healthy development and wellness of young children in the City of St. Louis by working alongside the community.” 

Each fall, United 4 Children, a nonprofit that supports childhood educators, children, and families, recognizes champions working to improve early childhood education in the region. Each recipient will receive a physical award – created by Third Degree Glass Factory – recognizing them for their impact on the community’s children and families.  

Each recipient’s award acceptance speech will be part of United 4 Children’s Lighting the Way Gala program on September 9. The program will begin at 7 p.m. for all virtual and in-person attendees. All attendees will enjoy a silent auction and connection to United 4 Children’s mission in addition to the award ceremony. The in-person celebration will be held at Third Degree Glass Factory and additionally will include a live glass art demonstration, a live painter, live music, hors d’oeuvres, and drinks. Doors open at Third Degree Glass Factory at 6 p.m. Masks are required. Virtual and in-person tickets are still available. 


About United 4 Children 

United 4 Children provides quality improvement services to childcare and after school programs that address the many needs of the whole child. The organization empowers childcare providers with the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure that children feel safe, supported, and engaged in high-quality, developmentally appropriate activities by qualified and caring adults. United 4 Children strives to meet community needs where other resources do not exist. It is the only Missouri State funded program addressing the federal recommendation of reducing suspension rates through teaching social-emotional skills. In addition, United 4 Children is an official sponsor of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) for family childcare home providers in both Missouri and Illinois. To learn more, visit 

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