“It touches your heart to see firsthand the wonderful enthusiasm and delight in these kids’ eyes with their careful and creative holiday wishes for our service members,” said Rahall. “We can't praise the children enough or remind our troops and veterans too often how much we appreciate them. It is especially important to remember their sacrifices during the holiday season. When we invest in Early Head Start, we invest in lifelong lessons for our youngest future citizens. The teachers and faculty at MountainHeart and everyone at the American Red Cross deserve our thanks."
This Holiday Mail for Heroes event was a collaboration between the American Red Cross and MountainHeart Community Services Early Head Start Program. Thirty-eight three to five year old children travelled by bus from Wyoming County to the Red Cross headquarters office in Beckley to share their cards with Congressman Rahall, and representatives of U.S. armed forces military branches and the West Virginia National Guard.
Rep. Rahall and staff from his Washington Congressional office had participated in the Holiday Mail for Heroes card signing event last week in Washington, DC.
Following the holiday card presentation, Rahall announced five southern West Virginia Early Head Start programs would be receiving a total of $2.9 million in federal funding through Recovery Act grant awards.
“It is my pleasure to announce that five Early Head Start Grants are being awarded through the Recovery Act. One of the awardees is right here today who is doing great work for southern West Virginia, the MountainHeart program in Wyoming County, which is receiving a grant of $512, 034,” said Rahall. “Early education and socialization is so important to child development and learning. As a father and grandfather I know that education from a young age can make all the difference in a child’s future. I will work night and day in the Congress to keep full funding for head start and early head start programs; they are helping parents to be better parents and our children to be prepared when they start school.”
The grants will be awarded to five community programs in southern West Virginia to add or expand Early Head Start Programs — an education intervention program focused on children from birth to three years of age, and prenatal mothers. The funds will be used to hire staff, cover programmatic costs, and for program facilities to assist families in their respective service-area communities:
• $448,769 for Early Head Start for Monroe County Schools
• $471,887 Southwestern Community Action Council, Inc. in Huntington
• $512,034 MountainHeart Community Services in Oceana
• $659,814 Fayette County Child Development, Inc.
• $858,487 Community Action of Southern Eastern West Virginia in Bluefield