New facility will help provide better ‘Head Start’

by David Morgan, Lawrence County Executive

Good childhood experiences are absolutely crucial to a person’s future success.

Children need good health care and nutrition; safe, stress-free environments; and opportunities to learn and connect with others. Since 1965, Head Start programs across the country have helped provide these things to children and families.

Last Thursday, I was honored to help officially open Lawrenceburg’s new Head Start/Early Head Start facility at 237 East Taylor Street. It’s a perfect space for children, after a top-to-bottom rehab completely refreshed the building which once housed local Human Services and Employment offices.

For this I thank Paul Rosson, Executive Director of the South Central Human Resources Agency (SCHRA), which provides federally-funded Head Start services in this 13-county district. Rosson oversaw the $2 million rehabilitation, secured federal funds for the majority of it, as well as donations from contractors and suppliers.

The City of Lawrenceburg and Lawrence County chipped in labor through their maintenance departments and trustees from our jail, so Rosson’s team also includes Mayor Blake Lay, former County Executive T.R. Williams, County Maintenance Director Mark Brewer, Sheriff John Myers and Lt. Susan Taylor, Administrator of our jail.

Everyone at Thursday’s grand opening agreed Lawrence County is especially good at collaborations that produce great things for this community and region. The group included others who supported the project and its funding: SCHRA Board Chairman and Wayne County Executive Jim Mangubat; State Senator Joey Hensley; and State Representatives Clay Doggett and Kip Capley.

The Head Start/Early Head facility is definitely one of those great things. It’s less than one-quarter mile from the building that previously housed the program – the former cafeteria of ‘Old Public’ elementary school – so it is still convenient for the families it serves. The new space is also larger so it can serve more children.

One of the most important aspects of the program isn’t new. Staff members include people who have been involved in Head Start and child care in this community for many years. One employee is bilingual, a great benefit to our Hispanic population, which now comprises the largest minority in this community. The beauty of the Head Start program is that while it’s funded from the federal level, it is administered at the local level, where it can be tailored to meet a community’s specific needs.

Head Start/Early Head Start programs support children’s growth from pregnancy and birth to age 5. Services at Head Start are centered on early learning and development, health, and family well-being, and can extend into the home to assess needs and find ways to fill them.  

The programs serve low-income families and those considered “at risk.” This includes single parents, teen parents, grandparents, active military/veteran families, those with incarcerated parents, families with health and mental health concerns, and non-English speaking children.

For more information about the Lawrenceburg Head Start/Early Head Start program, call 931-762-4609. The South Lawrence Head Start Center provides services in that area, and can be reached at 931-845-4994.

Again, thanks to all who helped create this new space, and who carry on this vital program.

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