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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Parents help prepare Head Start facility for appreciation day

Friday, October 5, 2012

Michelle Easter, mother of Head Start student Austin, helps get Head Start ready for Community Appreciation Day by decorating Friday afternoon.
(Photo by Sabrina Westfall) [Order this photo]
Several Linton Head Start student parents spent Friday afternoon sprucing up the facility in preparation for a Community Appreciation Day.

"Parents are coming to do different things to spruce up the building, such as painting if it doesn't rain, water sealing the deck Jim Morrison's (Twin Rivers Vocational Building Trades) class made for us," PACE Family Specialist Heather Wolfe explained.

Wolfe noted Rob Turpin from Pizza Villa donated pizza for the parent volunteers.

Matt Fulford and his father-in-law Dave Peltier help spruce up the Head Start Preschool Friday afternoon in preparation for Community Appreciation Day Oct. 18. Fulford's daughter -- Peltier's granddaughter -- Leia attends Head Start.
(Photo by Sabrina Westfall) [Order this photo]
The cleaning of the building is to promote Head Start Awareness month. Several local officials will be visiting the preschool Oct. 18, and the community is invited.

Between noon and 2 p.m. Head Start faculty will be serving free hot dogs, chips, and drinks in the parking lot so the public can see the center and learn what Head Start is all about.

"The mayor, John Wilkes, will be signing a proclamation at 1 p.m. declaring October as Head Start Awareness month," Wolfe said.

Wolfe said the preschool has also invited District 39 State Sen. John Waterman, State Rep. Bruce Borders, members of the Linton City Council, and the township trustee.

Wolfe stressed the event will be an opportunity for the Linton location to thank the community for its support during 47 years of its existence.

"Without the community we wouldn't be here," Wolfe said.

She explained each Head Start location is allotted a certain amount of funding for each year, but 20 percent of the funding must be paid back through in-kind donations.

"If we don't get that 20 percent we have to pay back every $4 for every dollar we miss," Wolfe explained, noting the Head Start cannot hold fundraisers to cover the payment.

She approximated about $35,000 needs to be paid back each year, which covers $10,000 per employee. Linton Head Start has three full-time and one part-time employee.

Wolfe said some examples of the in-kind donations include a cabinet and deck made by the Building Trades class, as well as donations from local churches for classroom use.

"The government keeps changing what we can count every year. It keeps getting stricter and stricter every year, but the community continues to keep us afloat," Wolfe explained.

Wolfe said Head Start is very important in the community because it offers a preschool program many families in the area might not be able to afford.

"Head Start is a place for low-income families to get a head start on kindergarten. They get the skills they might not be able to afford elsewhere," Wolfe said.

She noted Head Start goes beyond just providing an educational experience by providing full family services.

Some programs include nutrition by offering meals and snacks, dental programs, physical exams, mental health services, a mental health counselor, and promotes parent involvement.

Parents are involved in bettering the curriculum and planning field trips for the students. Some parents are also involved in the Policy Council, which is involved in the hiring and firing of staff and installing curriculum.

"We have a community representative for each council," Wolfe explained.

Head Start also provides social service-type resources available to parents, and means for interventions if necessary.

The preschool also works to get members of the community in the classroom to interact with the students.

The school sponsors a Men's Week and Women's Week to bring in positive male and female figures from the community to meet with the students.

Head Start accepts applications all year, not just at the beginning of the school year, for both the Linton and Eastern Greene applications.

Wolfe added while the Linton location continues to thrive, the Eastern Greene location is struggling to maintain enrollees.

For more information about the Greene County Head Start locations, call 847-7687 or email Wolfe at hwolfe@pacecaa.org .

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