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Continuing the legacy of Rooftop of Virginia CAP’s Head Start program, the agency is now offering a new program called Early Head Start to benefit pregnant women and children ages birth through three years.
Early Head Start is serving 116 families throughout the Twin Counties.
Child services specialist Joan Weaver says that children in this age range “need early childhood development experiences that honor their unique characteristics and provide love, worth and positive learning experiences.
“All families need encouragement and support from their community so they may achieve their own goals and provide a safe and nurturing environment for their very young children,” she said.
Early Head Start is fairly new, serving families both in their office and at home. The program provides weekly home visits to 92 families, and office-based services to 24 families.
The Galax Early Head Start Center is located in the former Apple Pie Kids building near Twin County Regional Hospital. The center provides a full-day (6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.), full-year program for parents who work or attend school.
The Hillsville Early Head Start Center is located in the old Hillsville Elementary School on Oak Street, and operates daily from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Carroll County students with children receive top priority for placement, followed by other members of the community. “Head Start is partnering with Carroll County to address teen pregnancy in an effort to keep young parents in school,” Weaver said.
The program’s home visitor services are offered to families in Grayson County, Carroll County and Galax.
Head Start partners with local high schools, Tri-Area Pregnancy Resource Center, physicians, health departments, the local Departments of Social Services and Mount Rogers to locate pregnant mothers and families with young children who are eligible to participate in the program.
“Rooftop of Virginia CAP’s Head Start program has been serving three- and four-year-old children from families in our area for 37 years,” Weaver said.
Head Start services 85 children in classroom settings and 60 children in the home-based option. The program focuses in the areas of dental care, nutrition, physical wellness, cognitive development and social-emotional well-being.
Families are given the opportunity to earn GEDs, participate in leadership building activities and participate in their child’s educational development.
“Head Start recognizes the parents as the primary teachers of their children, respects cultural differences and strongly believes that children learn best through interactive play opportunities,” Weaver said.
• Applications for both Head Start and Early Head Start are available at Rooftop of Virginia, located at 206 N. Main St. in downtown Galax. For questions about the program, or to request a mailed application, contact Weaver at (276) 236-7131 ext. 245.