October is national Head Start Month and the Head Start program in Craig has been serving the area for 30 years.
By providing this developmental program for low-income families in the area, Head Start offers a full-range of services for 3- to 5-year-olds. According to Head Start Family Advocate Andrea Medina, Craig Head Start provides transportation, health screenings, family-style meals and other activities including crafts, self-helping skills (tying shoes, dressing, hygiene, etc.), serving food and setting up the kitchen table.
"The creative curriculum involves age-appropriate activities," Medina said. Head Start also offers referrals for families to agencies within the community for assistance in a variety of areas.
Head Start in Craig has 30 students and it is almost at full capacity. Head Start offers two schedules for students, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. The optimal number of students in each section is 17.
According to Mary Ginther, Head Start head teacher, the school receives grants from the federal government. These grants need to be matched about 25 percent by community members. Head Start in Colorado receives $2 million per year and of this amount, 25 percent, or $500,000, must be matched by communities.
"We depend a lot on community involvement," Ginther said. "Part of our grant depends on matching funds."
Donations from community members not only are monetary but can also include services provided. For example, if a local contractor decides to pave the Head Start parking lot, the cost of labor and materials donated by the contractor may be used as a matching grant.
Head Start is part of the Rocky Mountain Service, Employment, Redevelopment (SER) group headquartered in Grand Junction. This group also includes an organization of migrant farm workers, adult education and job training.
Craig Mayor Dave DeRose will visit Craig Head Start on Oct. 26 at 12:30 p.m. to eat lunch with the students in an activity coinciding with Head Start Awareness Month.