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Kiwanis provides ‘gap funding’ for Head Start

For the third year, the Kiwanis Club of Pagosa Springs has donated $2,000 to the Pagosa Springs Head Start/Early Childhood Program to provide “gap funding” that will help pay the cost of summer child care between school years.

This is the latest example of how the Kiwanis Club continues to support the low-income, at-risk preschool children in Pagosa Springs.

The Kiwanis International is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. Service projects of this international organization are often linked to the Kiwanis program, “Young Children: Priority One,” focusing on the health, safety and child care needs of children under 5 years old.

The “gap funding” is a welcome project for the Head Start program in Pagosa Springs. Head Start is a federally funded program established in the 1960s as part of the War on Poverty. The funding was designed for part-day, part-year preschool services for children in a time when most children had at least one non-working parent, and there was no need for child care services. The funding formula has not changed, even though there have been small incremental increases that have not kept up with inflation.

Today’s low-income families are in the workforce. They understand the importance of the preschool opportunity to prepare their children for success in the public school, but they also need child care. During the school year, through a combination of funding sources, the Head Start program is able to provide full-day care. Some of this funding is lost during the summer months. The “gap funding” from the Kiwanis Club will keep the partial tuition costs for families at an attainable level for these hard-working families.

Over the years, Kiwanis Club members have given generously of their time by volunteering with the Head Start children in Pagosa Springs. During the 1 to 2 hours per month these dedicated individuals spend in the center, they participate in art projects, spend time on the playground, read one-on-one and play games with the children.

In addition to this regular volunteer time, they participate yearly in Reading is Fundamental, a national program to read to children and provide children with books for their homes. They have truly made these young children a priority in their club activities.

The Pagosa Springs Head Start/Early Childhood Program is a high quality preschool program, rated independently by Qualistar Early Learning and by the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale.

The Pagosa Springs Head Start/ Early Childhood Program is accepting applications for enrollment. For more information or to make an appointment, call Rosemary or Mardel at 264-2484.