Russellville Head Start holds open house
Melissa Dozier-Cason FCT Staff Writer
The Russellville Head Start held an open house for the community, Friday, Oct. 21.
Franklin County has three Head Start sites: Russellville, Tharptown and Phil Campbell, Sheila Pierce, classroom specialist, said.
"The purpose for our open house is to get the community involved with our program," Pierce said.
Each class has about 20 students, ages three to five, and has two teachers, and one Foster Grandmother to help with activities. Although, the classes are now full, the head start program is always accepting children to go onto their wait list, Pierce said.
"Right now, we have 15 to 20 students on our wait list," Pierce said.
Franklin County Head Start Program does more that just teach kids the majority of the day. Pierce and the other workers help the families by providing parenting classes or helping with GED training. Last year, Pierce had five parents attend GED classes in an attempt to better their economic situation.
"We are not a day care; we are here to help the children and their families improve their situation," Pierce said.
The head start is looking for community involvement to improve their school. They need volunteers to come and read to the children one to two times a week. They are in particular need of volunteers that can read and speak both English and Spanish, Pierce said.
"We have so many children that are Hispanic and that don't understand English," Pierce said. "We need someone to come read to these kids in English and then in Spanish in order for them to understand the story."
Besides volunteers, Franklin County Head Start Programs need playground equipment, computer software for children's use, indoor/outdoor carpet for the Tharptown classroom, new light fixtures for their entryway, parenting books for the parent's resource room, and much more. Anyone wishing to donate any of these items may do so by contacting Russellville Head Start, Pierce said.
The Head Start Program is funded by the federal government, and is operated by the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama. This agency operates head start schools in seven counties, besides Franklin, according to Partnership information.
Last year, lawmakers decided to cut head start funding across the board by one percent. The funding cut created a greater need for community involvement to improve the head start program.
State Representative Johnny Mack Morrow attended the open house, and pledged to work on helping the head start with new playground equipment, Pierce said.
Senator Roger Bedford and U.S. Congressman Robert Aderholt were also invited to the open house, but were unable to attend.