This morning Mayor Chris Beutler and Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties announced the award of a competitive five-year, $31 million grant to administer Early Head Start and Head Start services in Lancaster and Saunders Counties.
"This funding from the Office of Head Start (Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Administration for Children and Families) makes it possible to launch our redesigned program model and strengthen our services to children and their families," said Aaron Bowen, Deputy Director of Community Action and Director of Head Start.
"Community Action has provided Head Start services for 51 years. The opening of two new full day, full year early childhood development centers in the heart of Lincoln is a tremendous opportunity to expand the program's reach and meet the needs of our community," said Bowen.
Community Action will provide Early Head Start (serving children age birth to 3) and Head Start programming (serving children ages 3 to 5), at two new facilities located at the Health 360 campus at 23rd and O Street, and within the Kaplan University building at 18th and K Street. The two new centers will serve 255 children (58 at Health 360, and 197 at K Street). The agency will also expand its Early Head Start Home-based program option to serve 132 pregnant women and families with children up to age 3 as well as expand its partnership with Wahoo Public Schools to serve 34 preschoolers enrolled in Head Start and offer summer enrichment support.
"We all know that providing early childhood education is one of the keys to building strong children, strong families and a strong City," Mayor Beutler said. "When we invest in our community's children, we ensure long-term prosperity for all. This announcement comes at a critical time in our community as the needs of children and families are great. Head Start programs are designed to ensure that all of our community's children -- regardless of their circumstances -- have the opportunity to succeed in school and in life."
"Every child deserves a head start," said Vi See, Community Action Executive Director. "Our priority is readiness - we want to ensure that children are ready for school, and families are ready to support their children's development. Community Action is thankful for all the great community partners, past and present that have helped to make this program possible," said See.
Community Action's mission is to empower those living in poverty to reach economic stability. For more information about Community Action visit: www.communityactionatwork.org.