Greater Bergen Community Action Inc. (GBCA) was awarded The Molina Foundation’s Launch into Learning Book Grant, allowing them to distribute nearly 3,000 books to economically disadvantaged children and families in their Head Start and English as a Second Language (ESL) Programs.
Over 1,000 books have already been distributed to GBCA’s Head Start and ESL students; some were also used to enhance classrooms’ libraries. The generous donation by The Molina Foundation will continue to supply free, and much-needed reading materials to students and parents throughout the remainder of the school year at special events that encourage literacy as a foundation of cultivating young minds.
Nancy Griner, GBCA Head Start Program Director, says, “Our mission is committed to serving the needs of our clients. The distribution of this variety of books will help with the home/school connection. It encourages children to model the reading experience of the classroom in their own home environment and expose their families to words they might otherwise not be aware of.”
Research shows that there continues to be significant academic achievement differences – including a 30 million “word-gap” between children in poverty and their more affluent peers. The majority of families served by GBCA’s Head Start and ESL programs are at or below the federal poverty guidelines and as a result do not have the same experiences or exposure to language rich environments, experiences and opportunities. In addition, at least 60% of the Head Start population served by GBCA does not consider English their first language and many of the children are only beginning to learn English in the pre-k classroom.
About GBCA’s Head Start/Early Head Start
GBCA’s Head Start/Early Head Start programs are open to all income eligible families. All services are responsive to each child and family’s ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage. GBCA Head Start/Early Head Start families gain easy access to all appropriate services and programs of GBCA, including housing, education and financial/banking resources. For more information or to enroll, go to www.GBCAHeadStart.org.