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School building becomes child center

Nonprofit SpotlightKay Vasilakis

Dr. Steven McKee and the Garfield School District 16 have generously offered use of space in the Grand Valley Early Childhood Literacy Center for area nonprofits to connect with their clients. It is stepping up to provide an avenue for the Garfield County Human Services Commission, whose agencies often find themselves needing space on the western part of the county.With the passage of the bond issue in 2000, the school district embarked on building a new high school, creating an opportunity to do something new with the old building. The district decided that a childhood literacy center would breathe new life into the 64-year-old building. Rhonda Dillon, coordinator of curriculum and instruction, was given the task of pursuing various grants available for a childhood center. With those grants, District 16 was able to move forward. The development of the Early Childhood Literacy Center was accomplished without any further burden to taxpayers. The campus houses three kindergarten classrooms, two preschool classrooms, an area for special needs students, Head Start, a teen parent program and a full-service day-care center. Since its inception, the center has been rapidly filling the needs of Garfield County School District 16’s youngest students. Those needs were expanded in 2003 to help pregnant and parenting teens earn their high school diplomas while receiving guidance for successful parenting.On Dec. 8, the Garfield County Human Services Commission held its monthly meeting at the District 16 Administration Building. The membership was treated to a tour of the Early Childhood Literacy Center, and was introduced to Superintendent Dr. Steven McKee, District 16 school board members and district personnel and Parachute city officials. “This (the Grand Valley Early Childhood Literacy Center) is a happy place,” Dr. McKee said to the human services agencies. “By working together, we can provide services to the community that they may not normally have. The bottom line is, we all benefit when services are provided to children.””District 16 wants you to be part of our community,” he continued. “The face of our community is changing. We want the opportunity for the community to receive the best they can.”Guidelines for phone usage and a key system have been worked out for use of the space, which includes an area with access to phones and the ability to hook up a computer. A bigger office space that can be used as a conference room is also available.Human services agencies wanting to use this space should contact district secretary Linda Leatherman at 285-7242 for a few details about the specific use of the Early Childhood Literacy Center.Kay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column appears every other Wednesday. Kay is the media coordinator for the Garfield County Human Services Commission. Contact her at 945-8515, ext. 513, or e-mail kvasilakis@postindependent.comKay Vasilakis’ “Nonprofit Spotlight” column appears every other Wednesday. Kay is the media coordinator for the Garfield County Human Services Commission. Contact her at 945-8515, ext. 513, or e-mail kvasilakis@postindependent.com


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