Dec. 12, 2006 | A new initiative of the Pulaski County Head Start/Early Head Start program operated by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) offers an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of local preschool children.
Groups and individuals are invited to “adopt” a UAMS Head Start or Early Head Start classroom by making a financial commitment to support the class’ educational program. While donations of any amount are welcome, the Adopt-a-Classroom program encourages groups to contribute $600 per month or individuals to contribute $30 per month to be used for the purchase of supplies to promote skills in literacy, language, math and science; parent and child activity packs to reinforce basic developmental skills; and equipment to enhance physical growth and development.
Those who adopt a classroom will receive artwork and letters from the students as well as a photo of the class autographed by the children and placed in a specially designed holder.
Donations are tax deductible and can be one-time or ongoing. For information, call Melony Goodhand, UAMS vice chancellor, at (501) 686-5670 or visit www.uams.edu/pediatrics/headstart.
“Our children deserve the very best early childhood education that we can offer,” said Charles Feild, UAMS Head Start executive director. “With federal funding on the decline, we have to rely more and more on the generosity of our fellow Arkansans to help us serve these children and their families.”
One Head Start class brought holiday cheer to UAMS and to two downtown businesses recently. On Dec. 11, the preschoolers sang Christmas carols in the lobbies of Stephens Inc. and Metropolitan National Bank.
On Dec. 7 sporting Santa hats and reindeer antlers, the students visited UAMS to sing for UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D., and Debra Fiser, M.D., dean of the UAMS College of Medicine and others.
The group of 3- and 4-year-olds from the Pine Head Start site in
The group was accompanied by Mary Kaye McKinney, UAMS Head Start director. As part of the six-year tradition, students from Head Start’s 23 facilities in
Since 1998, UAMS has operated the Pulaski County Head Start/Early Head Start program, which serves 1,130 children from birth through kindergarten at 23 facilities across the county. Ninety percent of the families with children enrolled in Head Start are at or below the 100 percent poverty level. In addition to a preschool curriculum, Head Start services include dental care, nutrition services, mental health services and referrals for community resources.
UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,430 students and 715 medical residents. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with about 9,400 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’