Milwaukee Children Win with $13.5 M in Funding for Early Childhood Education

MTB to announce local organizations receiving federal grants to get children ready for success in school

June 26, 2019                                                                                                             

MILWAUKEE—The Office of Head Start announced recently that several Milwaukee organizations will receive more than $13 million to fund early childhood education programs to serve more than 1,200 infants and toddlers living in poverty in Milwaukee. 

This news will be announced at a PC Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 10:45 a.m. in the Children’s area of the Milwaukee Public Library.

Next Door and the United Community Center (UCC) received notification that they will be recipients of Head Start / Early Head Start federal grants to provide high quality education and supportive services to address the developmental needs of the youngest children in our community.    

High-quality early childhood programs provide critical support during a child’s most important developmental years – ages birth to five – with a focus on academic achievement, building social-emotional skills, strengthening parent-child bonds, and helping children become better prepared for school and kindergarten ready.

Research indicates that more than 90 percent of a child’s brain development occurs in the first five years, building a strong foundation for long-term learning and development.

“For more than 50 years, Head Start has represented America’s commitment to giving vulnerable children and their families the opportunity to succeed. In Milwaukee, this funding will be a transformative community asset, preparing children for kindergarten and supporting families through these critical years in their children’s lives,” stated Mayor Barrett. “This allows us to continue our early childhood initiatives for Milwaukee, putting our youngest residents first.”

In addition to providing lifelong benefits to children and families, these grants also contribute to the local economy and strength by creating new positions for early childhood educators.  

Next Door will serve a total of 749 children – 629 Head Start students (ages 3 to 5) and 120 Early Head Start students (ages 6 weeks to 3).

Next Door has been serving the community for 50 years, with a focus on high quality early childhood education and family support services since the early 1990s. Today, in total, Next Door serves more than 1,400 children with two center-based locations, a home visitation program, and 11 partnership sites.  Next Door’s 2017-2018 school year data showed that 88 percent of assessed students met or exceeded expected developmental benchmarks.

“This investment in children in our community is critically important in building a stronger future for Milwaukee,” said Next Door President Dr. Tracey Sparrow. “Support of high quality early childhood education – now being offered through these three organizations – will help prepare children for success in school and begin to close the achievement gap for children living in poverty.”

The UCC will serve a total of 510 children – 422 Head Start students and 88 Early Head Start students. The UCC recently opened its Early Learning Academy focused on early childhood education in addition to the long-standing early childhood programs at Bruce-Guadalupe Community School.

UCC’s quality early learning programs have impacted hundreds of Milwaukee children, many of whom have graduated from high school, went on to college, and are now contributing to the prosperity of the city of Milwaukee.   Over the last ten years, college acceptance and enrollment rates for UCC alumni has risen from 8% to 96% ensuring more students are on the path to lifelong success.

“We are thrilled to see the investment in early childhood education in Milwaukee that will fuel change and lay the foundation for success in at-risk communities across Milwaukee,” said Ricardo Diaz, UCC Executive Director. “This is an exciting step forward to ensure every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, is given the opportunity to succeed.”


About Next Door

Next Door supports the intellectual, physical and emotional development of children by partnering with their families for success in school and the community. We serve more than 1,400 children, from birth to five years old, with two locations and 11 partnership sites in Milwaukee’s central city. Through home- and center-based programs, Next Door strives to create a long-term foundation for success by closing the achievement gap for children living in poverty.

About the United Community Center

The United Community Center (UCC) provides programs to Hispanics and near South side residents of all races and ages in education, cultural arts, recreation, community development and health and human services in an effort to help individuals achieve their potential by focusing on cultural heritage as a means of personal development.


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