POPLARVILLE – A major grant from the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation will allow Pearl River Community College to provide a resource and referral site for Poplarville’s Excel by 5 program and The Early Years Network.
One of the requirements for Poplarville to advance from Excel by 5 Candidate Community status to Certified Early Childhood Community status is to have a physical location for the program. The $113,500 will provide the majority of the funds needed for the center.
“The foundation’s grant will provide funds to modify an existing building located on the Pearl River Community College campus to house an initiative to provide early learning opportunities and resource materials for children up through age 5,” said Sid Whitley, chief executive officer of the foundation.
The former commercial truck driving classroom building north of the PRCC football stadium will be expanded to house the early childhood activities. The project, expected to take about six months, will more than double the size of the building.
“The long-term benefits of this grant are going to be tremendous,” said Dr. William Lewis, PRCC president. “As this feeds on itself over the years, you’ll see the benefits in the schools. You’ll see the benefits in the families. It will be huge.”
The goal of the Excel by 5 program is to improve a child’s overall well-being by age 5. The program sets forth a variety of standards involving parent training, community participation, childcare and health to support young children and their families by identifying available resources and existing best practices. The primary goal is to have children ready to learn when they start school.
The Early Childhood Network emphasizes improving quality of care for Mississippi’s youngest and most vulnerable population and increasing school readiness. It provides workshops and continuing education units for early care and education providers.
Sid Whitley, seated left, chief executive officer of the Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation, and Dr. William Lewis, Pearl River Community College president, discuss the foundation grant to PRCC for the Excel by 5 resource site. With them are, from left, Brenda Wells, who represents PRCC on the Poplarville Excel by 5 committee; foundation chief financial officer Clyde Dease and Dr. Carolyn Tedford, Poplarville Excel by 5 certification manager.
PRCC Public Relations photo