The Community Action Council of Howard County has been awarded $212,800 as part of the Prekindergarten Expansion Act of 2014, the Maryland State Department of Education announced this week.
According to a CAC news release, the Prekindergarten Expansion Act of 2014 will increase access to half-day and full-day prekindergarten for four-year-olds from families with household incomes at or below 300 percent of Federal Poverty Guidelines.
"We are very pleased and honored to receive this money as an indication of the excellent service our Head Start program provides for our families," said Bita Dayhoff, president of the CAC. "We have provided prekindergarten education for many, many years at a high level, and this money will allow us to serve more children in our community that need our assistance."
CAC currently serves 264 children in its Head Start program through two half-day and two full-day programs at four centers within the county.
According to the release, the new funding will enable the existing program to extend its hours of operation and the number of students it serves in the 2014-2015 school year.
It will also provide 20 additional full-day openings within the program and upgrade 36 children from half-day to full-day service.
Through Aug. 17, the CAC is assisting in Prepare for Success, a program that provides school supplies for students from lower-income families. Last year, the program assisted 2,100 students.
Donated supplies can be dropped off at all Howard County libraries, Recreation and Parks centers (North Laurel Community Center, Meadowbrook Athletic Complex, Gary J. Arthur Community Center and Roger Carter Center), all Columbia Association village offices, Columbia Athletic Club, Columbia Supreme Court, Columbia Gym and the Columbia Association Art Center.
Other participants in the program include the Howard County Library System, Recreation and Parks, Columbia Association, Columbia Village Associations and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity. Also helping the cause are nonprofits, businesses, faith and civic groups, foundations and individual citizens.