The Even Start Preschool Program at the Laguna Beach Boys and
Girls Club received $55,000 to begin the school year. The program
that provides free preschool for children of low-income families
received a grant for $20,000 from the Orange County Community
Foundation’s James Irvine Endowment Fund and a grant for $35,000 from
the B.C. McCabe Foundation. Even Start has been at the Boys and Girls
Club since the fall of 1999.
“There is a phenomenal need in this community,” said Kim Maxwell,
executive director of the Boys and Girls Club.
“Many people don’t realize we have a low income segment
of the community who can’t afford paid preschool to
prepare their children for kindergarten.”
Last year the Even Start students not only built a foundation for
kindergarten, but also enjoyed free swimming lessons and a birthday
party sponsored by Southern California Edison. The families are also
included in the program through workshops that teach them how to help
children with homework and prepare nutritious meals on a tight
“Going to kindergarten nowadays is not just coloring and fun,”
Maxwell explained. “It is quite academic now and we have to prepare
them.” But one of the most important trends Maxwell and her staff has
seen from Even Start is that the “alumni” come back as members of the
Boys and Girls Club.
“We’re seeing the younger siblings come into the program and the
graduates attend the club,” she said. “They feel part of our family.”
The Even Start class of 2003 will begin in September.
Information: (949) 376-7113.
-- Mary Castillo