Starting Place gets grant

April 26, 2009

The Harvest Foundation on Friday awarded a $175,700 grant to support The Starting Place, an early childhood resource center, for two years.

The grant was awarded to the United Way of Henry County and Martinsville as a part of a statewide effort to assist in early childhood education and pre-kindergarten preparation of local children, according to a news release.

The grant funding will be used by Smart Beginnings of Martinsville and Henry County, a United Way initiative, to support The Starting Place, a one-stop resource center for families, children, and childcare providers located at Liberty Fair Mall.

“Smart Beginnings is greatly appreciative of the investment made by the Harvest Foundation and looks forward to partnering with them to better prepare our youngest citizens for success,” said Sheryl Agee, director of children’s initiatives for the United Way and program manager of Smart Beginnings. “Their support of The Starting Place will allow us to broaden and enhance our services to assist families so all children are ready for school and ready for life.”

Through the support of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, Smart Beginnings began in 2007 as a coalition of early childhood education and community partners with a common mission: to help better serve young families and children.

The coalition of 15 community partners serves families of young children in three ways: infant and child services, parent education and free child assessments for children aged birth to 5 years.

The Starting Place opened in February. It is funded by a $325,000 grant from the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation.

“The Starting Place provides an opportunity for cognitive, physical and emotional delays to be identified and addressed earlier,” said Angela Logan, program officer of The Harvest Foundation. “By reaching children and families earlier rather than later in life, there is both a financial and developmental benefit to children, families and the community.”

The Starting Place is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, 2 to 5 p.m. Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month. Additional hours can be scheduled by appointment.

For more information, call The Starting Place at 666-8901.


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