WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA) — A local nonprofit that helps low-income families received thousands of dollars to go towards its childcare programs in Washington County.
A little over $57,000 was given to the Economic Opportunity Agency of Washington County.
The organization is using the money so that families can worry less about how they’re going to afford childcare and focus more on how they can better their career and education.
Between diapers and formula, Courtney Ashby learned quickly how expensive childcare was after having her daughter, Sadie.
“I think the cheapest one we found that I would feel safe sending her to was going to be $600 a month just for her,” Ashby said. “I was like there is no way, it would be my whole paycheck.”
Ashby said she’s lucky her daughter got accepted into the Economic Opportunity Agency (EOA) of Washington County and that she gets to work there.
“She gets to stay here until 5:30, which is good because I don’t get off until 3:30,” Ashby said.
EOA Director of Children Services Lance Johnson said the program is extending their childcare hours in the evening, thanks to a grant from the Community Supporters for Early Childhood Care and Education Fund.
Typically a child would receive six to seven hours of care in our program, with this funding it allows us to serve children up to nine hours a day.LANCE JOHNSON, EOA DIRECTOR OF CHILD SERVICES
“We have some parents who don’t get off work until 5 or 5:15, so they have to take their lunch break and come get them at 2:30 and try to find a sitter or something,” Ashby said.
Johnson said this grant will allow families, like Ashby’s, to work more or go to school full time.
“We really allow those families to help themselves come out of poverty and make sure they’re keeping a full-time job,” Johnson said.
I’m just really grateful for the grant, and the facility, and the staff here.COURTNEY ASHBY, HAS A CHILD IN HEADSTART
The grant awarded is a renewable grant, meaning the Arkansas Community Foundation anticipates providing continued funding once this first grant period has ended.
Below is the full press release:
The Economic Opportunity Agency (EOA) of Washington County recently was awarded a grant to expand capabilities of its childcare programs and staff from the Community Supporters for Early Childhood Care and Education Fund. The fund, initiated by Jane Hunt Meade of Fayetteville and managed by Arkansas Community Foundation, will make grants to provide essential childcare programs in Northwest Arkansas.
“We are extremely fortunate to receive this grant supporting after-care services for children enrolled in EOA Head Start, Early Head Start and Children’s House programs,” said Lance Johnson, Director of Children’s Services for EOA. “It addresses a pressing need for economically disadvantaged families in Northwest Arkansas.”
Funding for after-care services will provide access to high-quality early childhood education for an extended day, allowing parents to work full-time or advance their education and career. In addition, funding will provide educational scholarships for EOA staff to broaden skills and qualifications in early childhood development.
“For children to reach their full potential, communities need to support families and childcare programs to provide quality learning experiences in the first few years of life,” said Meade. “It is my hope that individuals and companies in Northwest Arkansas will make contributions to grow the Community Supporters for Early Childhood Care and Education Fund to help more families live their best lives.”
Arkansas Community Foundation offers tools to help Arkansans protect, grow and direct their charitable dollars as they learn more about community needs. By making grants and sharing knowledge, the Community Foundation supports charitable programs that work for Arkansas and partners to create new initiatives that address the gaps. Since 1976, the Community Foundation has provided more than $250 million in grants and partnered with thousands of Arkansans to help them improve our neighborhoods, our towns and our entire state. Contributions to the Community Foundation, its funds and any of its 28 affiliates are fully tax deductible.Arkansas Community Foundation