New Head Start facility opens

Published 8:37 am Friday, May 4, 2018

A new Head Start facility in Prince Edward County is set to better serve the students and families who are involved with the program.

STEPS Inc. runs the Head Start program and held a grand opening for the new location at 407 Griffin Blvd. on April 26. The Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce helped to celebrate the new location with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Jessica Lehman, vice president of early childhood education with STEPS, said the Prince Edward location houses two Head Start classrooms that serve 34 children between 3-5 years old and two Early Head Start classrooms that serve 16 children between 6 weeks old and 3 years old.

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“The new facility has allowed us to expand services for infant and toddlers and do our own meal service,” Lehman said, noting that the Prince Edward location has a new playground and school buses.

STEPS Inc., a nonprofit that seeks to help the community through workforce development efforts, economic development efforts, housing support and education resources, has also opened Head Start facilities in Amelia County, Lunenburg County and Charlotte County.

“When STEPS took over the Head Start grant a key focus was the addition of Early Head Start services,” Lehman said. “No Head Start grantee in our area had previously provided services for infants and toddlers. In order to make this service possible STEPS had to identify new spaces that would accommodate the expansion. We were able to enter into (a) long term lease for … the facility in Prince Edward on Griffin Boulevard.”

She said the expansion has created 10 new jobs and will serve up to 50 students.

“STEPS has the ability to begin working with parents while they are pregnant, through our Expectant Mother’s Program, and then hopefully enrolling the infants in Early Head Start,” Lehman said. “These expanded services will greatly impact our ability to move lives forward by impacting self-sufficiency and reducing generational poverty in our region.”