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The Centers For Families And Children Awarded 9.4M Head Start Grant

CLEVELAND – July 3, 2013 – This week The United States Department of Health and Human Services Administration of Children and Families Office of Head Start announced that The Centers for Families and Children (The Centers) has been awarded a federal Head Start grant of 9.4M to prepare 1,210 of Cuyahoga County’s children each year for kindergarten. The Centers was awarded this grant on behalf of The Learning Coalition, a group of local early learning providers that came together to pursue Head Start funding.

Head Start is a federal program that was started in 1965 to promote school readiness for children ages 3 to 5 from low-income families. The federal government initiated a widespread “recompetition” process last year for over 100 grants across the country, to ensure that children and families have high quality, effective early childhood education options available to them. The Office of Head Start published a list of grantees late yesterday through its website.

The Learning Coalition is a collaboration of local early childhood education organizations and K-12 schools which recognize the value of investments made in preparing children and families to enter school. Its members, which include The Centers, Catholic Charities, West Side Ecumenical Ministry (WSEM), OhioGuidestone and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), are committed to making every one of a child’s first 2,000 days count.

“We are thrilled with The Learning Coalition’s new leadership role for Head Start,” said Sharon Sobol Jordan, CEO and president of The Centers. “We have such a short time period to make a true impact, and together we are committed to increasing the number of children entering school on a path toward high school graduation and beyond.”

“Investments in early learning pay dividends in elementary school and beyond,” said Eric Gordon, CEO for CMSD. “Research indicates that low-income children often start Kindergarten 12 to 14 months behind their peers, a disadvantage that is not easily overcome even in the best schools. We have an extraordinary responsibility to change and improve the way we are educating our youth to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed.”

The Learning Coalition will provide services through early learning centers and CMSD elementary schools located across Cuyahoga County and through an in-home program. The Head Start model focuses on the entire child including education, social and emotional development, parent engagement, health and nutrition.

The Centers Launches 2,000 Days Pledge for Parents and Teachers

CLEVELAND – May 2, 2013 – The Centers for Families and Children (The Centers) launched its 2,000 Days Pledge today, the educational promise to be made by parents and teachers for the benefit of children enrolled in its early learning program. A child’s experiences during the first 2,000 days, from birth to kindergarten, have a lasting impact on later success in school and life.

"We only have 2,000 days -- from birth until the first day of Kindergarten -- to get our children ready for success in school and life, so every day counts!" said Sharon Sobol Jordan, President and CEO of The Centers. "We have this same amount of time with our parents to help them get ready to be good advocates for their children and partners with teachers throughout their children's academic careers -- from Kindergarten to high school graduation and beyond."

Parents that take the pledge commit to make every day of the first 2,000 count for their child in three main ways:

  • Keeping their child in a high quality early learning program for as many days as possible during the first 2,000, and
  • Partnering with their child's teachers to get their child ready for Kindergarten with the goal of high school graduation, and
  • Choosing an elementary school that is high performing and compatible with their child's learning style and needs

In return, The Centers pledge to engage parents and children in its integrated approach to Kindergarten-readiness that focuses on key building blocks such as the partnership between parents and teachers, supporting parents as their child’s “first teacher,” choosing the right elementary school for each child, school readiness in both academic achievement and social/emotional development, mentoring for parents and teachers, and other needed family services.

The Centers, which currently has close to 900 children enrolled in its nine early learning centers and home based program across Greater Cleveland, doesn’t take this pledge lightly.

"Research has proven that this is the most crucial developmental stage in a child's life so there is no time to waste,” said Sondra Jones, lifelong educator and Vice President of Education Strategy for The Centers. “What parents and teachers do for a child during this critical time can set that child on the path to success for the rest of his or her life. Tragically, a child that enters kindergarten unprepared is more likely to enter high school behind and at greater risk of dropping out before graduation.”

The 2,000 Days Pledge was rolled out this week to parents and families enrolled in the early learning program at The Centers.

To learn more about the 2,000 Days Pledge visit our Facebook for updates on how we make every day count.

About The Centers

We believe lasting, positive change begins with access to opportunities. We bridge the opportunity gap by connecting as many people as possible to effective health care, education and essential human services. The Centers is one of the oldest and largest nonprofit organizations in Northeast Ohio, serving more than 20,000 people annually in our community. Visit TheCentersOhio.org to learn more.