Union County Community Action, Inc. (UCCA) will receive a $5,269,005 grant for its Head Start and Early Head Start programs that serve children in Union, Anson and Richmond counties, according to an announcement made Wednesday afternoon by U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell (NC-08).
The funding was secured through the Department of Health and Human Services and will help aid UCCA in continuing to provide educational services to children and families.
UCCA offers comprehensive programs to help educate children and place them on a path to success. Head Start currently serves nearly 500 pre-kindergarten children, while Early Head Start focuses on 130 toddlers, infants and pregnant women throughout the three counties.
“This funding will allow us to strengthen programs and involvement with the children who are served,” said Kissell. “As a former school teacher, I know that when you educate a young mind you are helping that person for life, and programs like Head Start and Early Head Start target a variety of areas that guide these youngsters as they mature and find success. I am always working to bring our tax dollars home and I was thrilled to see this important funding come home to our region to help our families.”
The UCCA Head Start Program currently serves 36 infants and toddlers, and 122 preschool age children in Richmond County. UCCA also collaborates with Richmond County Schools to operate NC Pre-K classrooms.The Richmond County Head Start facility is located at 105 Fayetteville St. in Hamlet.
Jenny R. McGuirt, UCCA executive director said, “Our program focuses on school readiness and family engagement, which are integral parts of child development. The appropriation of these funds will allow UCCA to continue to deliver high quality services to children and families in Richmond County.”
Melinda Keever of Rockingham watched her granddaughter Heaven LeGrand make progress in school because of this program. She said she would definitely recommend the program to parents.
“I think it’s a great thing,” said Keever. “I think it helped my granddaughter a lot. It prepared her for kindergarten, maturity-wise and in interacting with other children. She was prepared for learning, listening to authority figures, and it helped her get into the school setting.”
“The teacher was nice,” said Heaven LeGrand, who was 4 years old when she went through Head Start. Now she is 6. “We would go outside, take naps, color, make projects, read books and play.”
Heaven LeGrand said she would do the program again if she could, and said she made friends and felt ready for school.
McGuirt stressed the importance of this funding for the Head Start and Early Head Start programs offered in the region.
“UCCA is pleased to receive this grant that will allow us to continue providing educational, nutritional, and transportation services to 130 pregnant women, infants and toddlers as well as 499 pre-kindergarten children in Union, Anson, and Richmond Counties,” said McGuirt. “We offer a variety of services to our 629 women and children, over 10 percent of whom have diagnosed disabilities. This funding will allow us to expand our resources and work towards a brighter future for these children.”
To learn more about Head Start, or to gain information on how to enroll your child, call 704-283-1114.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.