Recovery Act Impact: Lynn Economic Opportunity
The agency received a total of $4.1 million in stimulus grants and nearly $3 million was allocated to develop an Early Head Start program. The funds, in combination with a bank loan, were used to acquire a new facility for the program as well as hire staff and purchase supplies. On June 30, 2011, a ribbon cutting event was held to officially open the new facility, the Stepping Stones Child Care Center.
"These little guys are the future," said Jack Mogielnicki, CEO of LEO, at the event, referring to the children at Stepping Stones. "Some of these kids will go to college; some of these kids will make the world a better place."
Stepping Stones has six classrooms that can each accommodate eight children from birth to age three. There is a heavy emphasis in the Center on family participation. To that end, the Center has classes for the parents, special events and a parent policy board.
Alissa Phelan, LEO's education and disabilities manager, said that there was a "huge need in the community for an Early Head Start program." She noted that the children who complete the Early Head Start program can transition to LEO's Head Start program and then to its afterschool program. "We can give them services from birth to age 12," she said.
"It's about children getting an opportunity to learn," she said. "Here they're well cared for and stimulated in a clean, safe environment and they get good meals. And this never would have happened without the ARRA money. We put a lot of people to work, like electricians, plumbers, painters, we hired a whole staff and we brought a beautiful Center to our community. It's a beautiful use of ARRA money."