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St. Vincent de Paul Head Start opens new facility in Oliver

Project is a bright spot for Baltimore City’s largest Head Start provider

Baltimore Times Staff | 10/18/2013, 6 a.m.
St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore opened a new Head Start Center on Caroline Street in the Oliver Neighborhood in Baltimore on Tuesday, October 15, 2013. (Above) Children from the new St. Vincent de Paul Head Start Center hold up letters that spell out “We Love Our School” as Baltimore City Council President Jack Young (right) looks on. Gar Roberts

— St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, along with special guest Baltimore City Council President, Jack Young, celebrated the ribbon cutting for a new Head Start Center on Caroline Street on October, 15 in the Oliver section of Baltimore City.

The project also involved upgrades to 12 existing classrooms located in an adjacent building. As a result of this project, 289 children began their school year in bright, fresh new classrooms, thanks to support from Head Start, the State of Maryland, and the City of Baltimore.

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Olutunde Clark, senior director of Child & Family Services St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore

Head Start parent and volunteer Keisha McKenzie said her 5-year-old son is benefiting from the program, “I have seen a big change with my son regarding engaging with others, their social skills, its such a blessing to see. I volunteer, and sit in class with them. Now my son who is 5 reads to his sister who just turned 3 in August, and my son is teaching his sister to read. They are encouraged, and want to get up in the morning, to get to school and learn."

Head Start is a comprehensive pre-school education program designed to prepare low-income children for academic success, and promote age-appropriate social skills. The program works in partnership with parents, extended family, and members of the community to offer developmentally appropriate education, health, case management and family support services to children and their families.

St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore’s Head Start program is the largest in Baltimore City serving 860 three and four-year-old children and their families at six sites throughout the city.

Olutunde Clark, senior director of Child & Family Services at St. Vincent de Paul, said having a bright, beautiful space to learn in encourages children. “This project means that we can honor who they are right now in these two buildings that are safe, friendly, inviting and beautiful to the eye,” she said.