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Even Start receives $55,000 The Even...

Even Start

receives $55,000

The Even Start Preschool Program at the Laguna Beach Boys and

Girls Club received $55,000 to begin the school year. The program

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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

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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

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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

budget.

“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

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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


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