Congressmen Gonzalez, Vela, Cuellar Laud Over $27 Million for Hidalgo County Head Start

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Texas Border Business

WASHINGTON – Congressmen Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), Filemon Vela (TX-34), and Henry Cuellar (TX-28) today announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Head Start has awarded a continuation grant of $27,236,014 to Hidalgo County Head Start. This grant will help implement comprehensive child development programs that prepare young students, ages three to four, from low-income families for pre-school.

The grant will allow Hidalgo County Head Start to continue serving children and families in South Texas. Children participating in this program are given access to educational, nutritional, health, social, and special services. For 35 years, the program has sought to promote school readiness and developmental achievement.

“This is great news – we must always keep the door of opportunity open for every child in the 15th District of Texas,” Congressman Gonzalez said. “The Head Start program empowers students to expand their horizons and continues to prepare children for success both in school and beyond. In Congress, I will work to ensure that federal dollars are never limited when it comes to the academic success of our children.”

“The Head Start program strengthens families and our community by providing children with quality education early in their development,” said Congressman Vela. “This funding is a critical investment in the education of our future leaders and will help ensure that South Texas children and their families have the tools they need to succeed.”

“Head Start is a tremendously successful program, having served thousands of children and families in my district,” said Congressman Cuellar. “For years, it has contributed a great deal to the community by providing students with an array of comprehensive services and opportunities to shape a path for success. These funds are not only an investment in our children’s education, but an investment in their future.”

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Teresa Flores, Executive Director of the Hidalgo County Head Start Program, expressed her enthusiasm about the federal funding for the program:

“We are grateful to Congressman Gonzalez for his support in the continued funding of our program to provide comprehensive Head Start services to the neediest families in our county,” Executive Director Flores said. “It will also continue to fund the 752 employees, 33% who are former parents, and who serve the program in the areas of education, family services, health services, staff development, human resources, mental health services, field operations, finance, special services, transition, nutrition and transportation. Our program also developed and sustains successful partnerships with ten school districts to prepare children for kindergarten and beyond. The districts include: Pharr San Juan Alamo, McAllen, Weslaco, Mission, La Joya, Edinburg, Monte Alto, Hidalgo, Mercedes, and Edcouch. We will also continue to assist staff in securing higher education degrees for early education and provide financial resources and release time to fill in our classroom teaching vacancies.”

The grant is a continuation application to fund the program for 3,690 students served in 185 classrooms throughout the county for fiscal year 2019. This project is a five-year grant beginning July 1, 2016 and ending on June 30, 2021.

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