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Esperanza Center Adds Four Classrooms for Underserved Preschoolers

Project NOW

This fall, 80 children will attend preschool at the Esperanza Center in Moline.

It’s part of Project NOW’s Head Start program, which provides pre-kindergarden education to kids, aged 3 to 5, in low-income neighborhoods.

Head Start director Andrea Flannery says the Floreciente neighborhood was determined to be most in need for this program. And the assistance isn’t just for the children, it’s for their families too.

"One of the first things that our family service workers do with them is a basic needs assessment, we want to make sure that those families have housing, they have food, they have access to healthcare," she said. "And we will help them get those things during the enrollment process if they don't already have those things."

She says an exciting feature is that all four classrooms will have a bilingual teacher to help better communicate with parents and students.

Head Start paid for the classrooms using grants, including some COVID relief money, and donations. It will also provide a bus and driver to get kids to and from school.

Flannery says Head Start is still hiring for the Esperanza Center classrooms, and there are open spots for income-eligible students too.

More information is on the website, projectnow.org.

Rachel graduated from Michigan State University's J-School and has a background in broadcast and environmental journalism. Before WVIK, she worked for WKAR Public Media, Great Lakes Now, and more. In her free time, she likes to cook, hike, and hang out with her cat.