The holiday season is a great time for giving, but did you know contributing to others can increase your health and happiness? A study conducted by Harvard Business School in 2008 found that giving money to someone else increased participants’ happiness more than spending money on themselves. Another study at the National Institutes of Health found that donating to charities activated the region of the brain associated with pleasure, trust, and social connection.

While the positive personal outcomes are a plus, many people want their donation to have a wider-reaching effect. Donating to an early childhood education program like St. Mark Center offers a return on investment. According to The Center on the Developing Child, investing in early childhood education has an outstanding impact on the community. Long-term studies have found that for every $1 invested in early learning programs for low-income children, there were returns ranging from $4 to $9 in the form of reduced costs for special education, welfare, and crime.

St. Mark Center provides quality early childhood education for two of the poorest ZIP codes in Kansas City, and beyond. We use an arts-infused curriculum to promote social and emotional development. The results are astounding, as 94% of our pre-K students achieve Missouri kindergarten-readiness benchmarks.

As we reach the end of our fiscal year, our teachers need items for their classrooms to continue to provide an effective learning environment. Click here to view and gift from St. Mark Center’s Amazon Wish list. Our needs range from culturally-inclusive books to extra clothing items for our students.

You can also donate time, treasure, and/or talent at or by contacting Cynthia Hoffman at 816-994-5432 or email Thank you for your consideration during this holiday season. Even a little contribution can go a long way to promote your personal well-being and improve our community.