GRANITE CITY, IL, July 22, 2011 . . . Riverbend Head Start & Family Services received a $173,206 grant from the Preschool for All program of the Illinois State Board of Education. The grant will fund free preschool for 68 children at the Granite City South Head Start center located at 1249 20th Street. The center enrolls a total of 136 students.

"Your program will play a valuable role in preparing young children for future success as students and as citizens," said Christopher Koch, Ed.D, State Superintendent of Education in the award letter.

Preschool begins Thursday, September 1. Applications for enrollment are available at the Head Start center or by calling 618/877-2102.

Preschool is free. Children qualify based on household income or a diagnosed disability, and must be between the ages of three and five. Ninety percent of the children in Head Start live below the federal poverty line of $22,350 for a family of four. Ten percent have a speech delay, physical disability, or some other diagnosis that qualifies them for Head Start's preschool and wraparound services.

In addition to high quality preschool curriculum, children receive wraparound services. They are physical, dental, and mental health screenings, treatment, and immunizations; warm, nutritious meals and snacks; and bus transportation to and from preschool. Families receive
free parenting education, nutrition education, and help achieving their education, employment, health, housing, and other goals.

Riverbend Head Start & Family Services is a nonprofit with a goal to strengthen families and prepare economically disadvantaged children for kindergarten in Madison County, Illinois. It provides early childhood education, parenting education, health and social services to nearly
1,000 children and their families through its Alton, Edwardsville, Collinsville, Granite City and Venice Head Start centers. To apply for preschool at any of these centers, call 618/463-5952.

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