The Project

It started with a vision for a better future

Together, we’re acknowledging that experiences and environmental influences in early childhood can affect long-term well-being. 

We’re drawing attention to the critically important role healthy places play in the social and emotional development of children and families.

We're making and encouraging positive, practical improvements to child-friendly spaces throughout Wake County.

We’re developing best practices, pooling knowledge and sharing our insights.

Together, we’re determined to see all children grow into adults who benefit from and contribute to healthy communities.

We’re making a lasting difference by putting our children first.
  • 1 out of 3 Wake County children get the mental health services they need [John Rex Endowment, Our Plan for Impact, 2013-2018, 2012]
  • 5% of children in Wake County receive 95% of available public services  [John Rex Endowment, Our Plan for Impact, 2013-2018, 2012]
  • 91,000 Young children in North Carolina have serious and persistent emotional and behavioral health disorders

The Kaleidoscope Project Steering Committee

A Steering Committee guides The Kaleidoscope Project, bringing together voices and experiences that represent a wide range of Wake County’s child-focused community, and combines real-world expertise with pioneering policy initiatives.
Lucy Daniels Center
Deborah Mugno
Marbles Kids Museum
Pam Hartley
Natural Learning Initiative (College of Design, NC State University)
Robin Moore
Project CATCH, a program of The Salvation Army of Wake County
Jennifer Tisdale
John Rex Endowment, ex officio
Kate Shirah
Wake County SmartStart
Anna Troutman

How We Got Here

Research shows that early childhood experiences can have positive or negative impacts on a child’s emotional well-being. In 2013, the John Rex Endowment reached out to organizations that would be able to help it achieve an ambitious goal: to develop and enhance the contribution of children’s places and spaces to the positive mental health of children.

This would be a concrete step toward fulfilling the John Rex Endowment’s mission of supporting an environment where children and families in greater Wake County can live healthy lives.

The John Rex Endowment awarded a grant to the Duke University Center for Child and Family Policy to lead this effort with partners at the Center for Child and Family Health and select consultants.This team conducted the research, carried out an in-depth stakeholder engagement process, and created the Planning for Intentional and Effective Places and Spaces for Children’s Positive Mental Health Integrated Plan that became the foundation for The Kaleidoscope Project.

Kaleidoscope is dedicated to:

  • Improving the social and emotional well-being of children from birth to 8 years old
  • Implementing strategies that will have a positive influence on vulnerable Wake County children
  • Inspiring and catalyzing more widespread community action
Read The Integrated Plan
Today, Kaleidoscope is working closely with community partners to identify and implement best practices for child-focused places and spaces in Wake County. The John Rex Endowment is providing financial support to Kaleidoscope's current efforts.