April 24, 2015 – More than 500 children in middle Georgia will soon reap the benefits of a $5.8 million grant awarded to Fort Valley State University’s Head Start Program.
Head Start is a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Program that offers free school readiness programs which may include medical screenings and the teaching of literacy skills, motor skills and physical development for low-income families. FVSU’s Head Start Program is the recipient of the Central Georgia Early Learners Child Care Partnership Program grant. This grant is awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Evelyn Byrd, director of FVSU’s Head Start Program, said the funds will be distributed among the Macon and Taylor County Head Start Programs, along with childcare facilities in Crawford, Peach, Dooly, Telfair, Crisp and Pulaski Counties. FVSU’s Child Development Program will also benefit from the funding.
Funding will provide comprehensive education along with health and wellness services for children ages 0 to 3-years-old. Byrd said she is excited about this funding because it will make an impact in this region. “The communities were in need, and we are glad we got these funds to help families and children in rural areas,” Byrd said. She said the grant funds will help support parents with comprehensive education services such as school readiness, medical screenings, health and nutrition services and resources to income eligible families.
Dr. Vivian Fluellen, head of FVSU’s Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, said funding will also provide training to early care center personnel and also help to update some of the facilities. “These funds will allow students to have a better chance of reading on grade level and also help to promote wellness in the community through early detection from health screenings. This positions them for a healthy lifestyle and strong academic future,” Fluellen said.
Paula McGhee, director of the Learning Tree Center of Georgia Inc. in Peach County, operates one of the facilities that will receive funding. “It’s a lifeline. My center is 95 percent subsidized care, and this care has been depleted. So, therefore we need something,” McGhee said in response to how the grant will benefit her center. The childcare facility owner said she believes this will help her center stay afloat and provide better opportunities for parents.
Funding for this grant became available in March and will continue until August 31, 2019. For more information about Head Start at FVSU, call (478) 825-6171 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FVSU Agricultural Communications Department