Howard County Executive Calvin Ball hosted a ribbon cutting for the Bauder Education Center, a vital early education program of the Community Action Council of Howard County at Long Reach Village Center. The new location has approximately 5,332 square feet, allowing Head Start to increase its capacity from 38 to 79 children. Head Start provides free pre-school to eligible 3 to 5-year-old children. Photos from the event can be found here.

“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. For so many of our families who are already struggling, providing free pre-k is a huge weight lifted and sets a strong foundation for our children. This amazing center would not be possible without the power of our community.”

The Head Start program serves 362 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.

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“Every life deserves the right to live to its fullest potential and that’s what this new Head Start center is hoping to accomplish,” said Senator Guy Guzzone. “CAC touches so many lives, works to provide self-sufficiency and are just creating a better world.”

“The Howard County Delegation is pleased to have worked with our local county leaders—including County Executive Ball—over many years in support of today’s opening of the Community Action Council’s Lillian Bauder Early Childhood Education Center in the Long Reach Village Center,” said Senator Clarence Lam. “We recognize that Head Start programs have a lasting impact on a child’s development, and the reach of this new Center will extend for generations of students to come. As a current CAC Board member and prior chair of the Board, I want to thank the tireless work of our dedicated Head Start and CAC teams, President Bita Dayhoff, and all the members of the CAC Board—including Dr. Bauder—for their unwavering support over the past few years to advance early childhood education in our local communities. There is nothing more important for the future of a community than the education of our children, and this new Center provides nearby neighborhoods a valuable and critical opportunity to support our youngest students.”

“As an educator and father of three, including two little ones, I am thrilled for the grand opening of the Bauder Education Center,” said Dr. Opel Jones, Howard County Council Vice Chair. “This necessary facility nestled in Long Reach Village Center will be home to Head Start and Pre-K—providing free pre-school to eligible 3 to 5-year-old children. Our community’s commitment to our children’s budding educational foundation is imperative to their success. I strongly support and understand the importance of laying a foundation and setting a precedent for their academic futures. This is an amazing addition to the revitalization of Long Reach Village Center!”

26% of Howard County families with children under the age of 5 find quality early childhood programs out of their reach. On average, across all income levels, Howard County families spend about 20% of their income on childcare − double the national recommendation of 10%.

“The opening of The Bauder Education Center at Long Reach is another example of our continued commitment to excellence in building a community where we live, work, play – and provide an excellent level of early childhood education for our children,” said Bita Dayoff Community Action Council President & CEO.

“This is more than an education center, it is a resource and connection for families in Howard County,” said Dr. Lillian Bauder, Community Action Council Board Member. “I am so excited for CAC to even further strengthen this community by way of The Bauder Education Center.”

From early math and reading skills to confidence and resilience, Head Start helps children build the skills they need to be successful in school and life. Head Start participants are 12% less likely to live in poverty as adults and 29% less likely to receive public assistance. Evidence suggests Head Start not only helps kids develop and allows parents to go to work, but it may also help at-risk kids from ending up in the foster care system.

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 (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 four classrooms in the new Bauder Education Center were sponsored by local organizations and businesses, St. John Baptist Church, Bridgeway Community Church, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia, and Apple Ford Lincoln.

“Several years ago, Long Reach children had to travel more than an hour to a Head Start center,” said St. John Baptist Church Sr. Pastor Rev. Dr. Robert Turner. “Well now through the stellar leadership of our community, we are opening a brand new Head Start center, so that children in Long Reach can go to pre-k near where they live, and that is something to celebrate.”

“This center is a shining example of the priorities and actions of the Howard County community,” said Frank Eastham of Bridgeway Community Church. “Now I’m a graduate of one of the first head start programs of this nation, and I was a recipient of the very services that this center provides. This center provides a place for children and their families to receive a lifetime of increasing opportunities. At Bridgeway Community Church we welcome this opportunity to be a part of this initiative.”

“We know that true worth and dignity and justice and equity are going to be realized only when all our children’s needs are met,” said Rev. Paige Getty, Sr. Pastor at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia. We affirm our interdependence that we all need one another, especially as we grow up in our community. Thank you to all our leaders for this great accomplishment and for leading the way for our community.”

“We’re privileged to be a part of a community that really understands what giving back is about,” Apple Ford Lincoln President Chip Doetsch. “The need is real, and the Community Action Council works extremely hard to make sure the need is met. I appreciate the opportunity and the privilege to be involved in this center.”

For more information about Head Start or to enroll in the 2021-2022 school year please click here.

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Here is the YouTube video of the event:

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Scott E

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