Tammy Mutasa, Garland Journalist
The Head Start program has expanded to Garland where there is a huge demand for low income families to have a place to take their children.
Early Head Start is expanding into Garland this week.
Head Start of Greater Dallas officially open the Early Head Start Garland Center to children and families in the Garland area on Wednesday.
The program says children between the ages of newborn and 3 from low-income families are the most underserved segment of children.
"We're providing those services to get those children from low-income families up and ready for school once they get into kindergarten, so they're not behind, and so they're entering kindergarten on the same level that their peers are," said Jeff Sundberg, site manager for the Garland Early Head Start location.
In Dallas County, Early Head Start serves about 1,000 children between four providers. The Garland center will serve about 100 families and already has a wait list with 100 more children.
Parents such as Lauren Gelista said the center has made a big difference in their families' lives.
"Head Start has not only changed my life, but my son's as well," she said. "My son is able to catch up on cognitive skills that he was lacking in the beginning due to health reasons."
The program faces a new challenge; President Barack Obama announced last week that Head Start prekindergarten centers can no longer count on the automatic renewal for their funding.
But the Greater Dallas program said it would be ready for the new regulations and are revving up their strategies.
"With the regulations that are coming, particularly with the ones on recompetition, we are in a position to that we have to make sure all of our services are quality, that we are providing quality services so that we will not be in that recompetition number, but we do that on a daily basis," said Wanda Smith, Head Start of Greater Dallas CEO.
The grand opening will be Wednesday at 10 a.m.