Today, County Executive Calvin Ball announced Head Start, a vital early education program of the Community Action Council of Howard County, is moving one of its locations to the Long Reach Village Center. The new location has approximately 5,332 square feet, allowing Head Start to increase its capacity from 38 to 80 children. Head Start provides free pre-school to eligible 3 to 5-year-old children.

“Head Start provides critical early childhood education and enrichment for our young residents,” said Ball. “This larger space at Long Reach Village Center – a central hub for the community – will allow for more classroom capacity and reduce challenging transit needs for some of our residents. Providing accessible early childhood education for all our residents is critical to the preparation and success of our children. As Long Reach continues to welcome new, people-driven services, we’re thrilled that Head Start will have a designated space in the neighborhood and serve as an anchor for the Long Reach Village Center.”

The Head Start program serves 364 Howard County children with four early education centers, including the new space at the Long Reach Village Center. The program is designed to prepare children socially, emotionally, and academically for kindergarten. The center will also serve as a family support center that provides wrap around services that include housing, energy and food assistance while their children are receiving a high quality education that prepares them for kindergarten.

“Head Start will be an excellent addition to the Long Reach Village Center, providing nearby childcare and education to our Long Reach families and joining a slate of new businesses,” said Opel Jones, District 2 Council Member. “Long Reach has undergone a significant transformation and revitalization this year and is on its way to becoming the thriving neighborhood hub we always knew was possible.”

The new location in the village center replaces the First Presbyterian in Columbia, which only has two classrooms and a smaller student capacity. The four centers are accredited by the Maryland State Department of Education, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Head Start Association and Maryland EXCELS.

“The Community Action Council of Howard County is excited to announce the opening of the much-anticipated and desired early childhood education center powered by private and public partnership,” said Bita Dayoff, Executive Director of CAC. “The Bauder Education Center is a state-of-the-art and first-of-its-kind facility which will stand ready to serve the families of our community using a 2-Generation and Whole Family approach. Access to quality early childhood education is a huge hurdle in combatting poverty, and in Howard County, it has been cited as one of the top challenges facing the families who struggle to make ends meet.”

“The pandemic has highlighted the dire need for childcare resources in our community,” said Dr. Lillian Bauder, CAC Board Member and a significant contributor to the Head Start program, donating $250k. “We know our children need access to finest resources and that starts with early education and flexibility for working parents. I am pleased to work with County Executive Dr. Calvin Ball and Bita Dayhoff to get this project started. I look forward to seeing the great work Community Action Council will continue to do in Howard County.

During the last 10 months, more than 45,000 square feet of office and retail space has been leased in Long Reach Village Center, including 25,000 sq ft of the space that was previously occupied by Safeway. As of October 2020, retail space at the village center is 85% occupied, office space is 51% occupied and the former Safeway is 48% occupied. In addition to Head Start, new tenants include the African Art Museum of Maryland, Roving Radish, ManneqArt, Power52, Every Kid Can Cook, Roll Up N Dye, the new Howard County Arts Council artists’ studios, Howard International Grocer, Blooming Hope Dominican Salon and VM Services.

The Community Action Council of Howard County (CAC) serves low-income Howard County residents through four core program areas: food assistance, energy and weatherization assistance, housing assistance, and early childhood education. The CAC has been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis for many months. In June the CAC received $200k in funding from the County to support the Howard County Food Bank. Most recently, the CAC received a $50k Rise to the Challenge grant to support their response to COVID-19 and the pandemic’s impact on the community.

For more information about Head Start or to enroll your child for the 2020-2021 school year, please click here.

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Scott E

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