STROUDSBURG, PA (OCTOBER 22,2020)

The Monroe County Head Start program has been named the recipient of a Rotary International Global Grant to fund virtual classrooms for these Pre-K children impacted by Covid-19. The $33,750 grant will be used to ensure kindergarten readiness of preschool age children enrolled in Head Start who, because of school closures, missed out on considerable formal programming/classes since the outbreak of the pandemic in March.

Rotary International is a service organization created over 110 years ago to bring together business and professional leaders to further humanitarian service, fight disease, provide clean water and sanitation, promote peace and support education around the world. The goal of its 1.2 million members and 35,000 clubs is to see a world where people unite and take action to solve real problems to create lasting change.

David Super, spokesperson for the Stroudsburg Rotary, lead sponsor of the grant application, said, “A coalition of our Monroe County Rotary Clubs joined together to address the problems Head Start is facing because of Covid-19. Most in-person programs have been shuttered because of the outbreak. As a result, these Monroe County Pre-K children who live in poverty have not received the in-person education necessary to demonstrate by school district kindergarten assessments, a high readiness for educational success.” He continues, “We met with Tim Lee, the Executive Director of Pocono Services for Families and Children (PSFC), which administrators our County Head Start Program, to find out how this gap could be bridged, and came up with this solution and the funding necessary to get it launched.”

What is unique to this type of Global Grant is they are not normally awarded within the United States. “We partnered with a Canadian Rotary chapter to apply for this International Program,” Super said. “Traditionally, our monies raised for international projects helps in countries around the world. Given the significant impact the pandemic has had in Monroe County, we opted to fund a program within our county.”

The Virtual Classrooms program will engage children through online learning using laptops loaded with specially designed software that focuses on skills necessary to enter kindergarten. There is currently no outlet for children not yet enrolled in public schools to access this type of service. In addition to the children, virtual classroom learning will also include adult programming on health education, parental skill developments, Bridges Out of Poverty curriculum, and computer skills. Through Head Start and Global Grant funding, everything families will need to learn remotely and receive basic education and literacy will be provided.

PSFC is a non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of economically challenged Monroe County families by being a responsive, thriving organization that leads the charge for training and advocacy. Their goal is to collectively improve the future for children, families and communities.

Super concludes, “We are in the process of securing the equipment for this new program and expect to impact 75 families in need in Monroe County. The launch of this new ongoing initiative will continue to help families with preschool children access the equipment they need to advance their literacy and prepare them for school. Thanks to an International Rotary Grant, PSFC will manage the equipment and programming to create a sustainable learning opportunity for Monroe County families and is a shining example of how our organization not only impacts lives internationally but also here in our community.”

For program information and assistance with participation, residents can call Monroe County Head Start at 570-421-2676 or go to their website at psfc.org.