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Higgins: Nearly $500,000 to support The Service Collaborative of WNY's early childhood program

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Tue, May 25th 2021 10:20 am

Helps improve early education initiatives & prepare children for educational success

Congressman Brian Higgins announced a federal grant totaling $499,999 to ensure the continued support of The Service Collaborative of WNY’s AmeriCorps Builds Lives Through Education (ABLE) early childhood program, which helps prepare preschool children for success in mathematics.

“The Service Collaborative of WNY has done an incredible job of helping prepare our community’s youth for educational success, and training new teachers to better meet their needs,” he said. “This funding will help continue that success as we work to address early areas of concern for children and provide a path forward.”

The ABLE Early Childhood program will pair 35 AmeriCorps members from The Service Collaborative of WNY with an expected 140 kindergarteners from across Erie and Niagara counties for a seven-month educational experience that works to increase the math comprehension of students, while also preparing the members to better meet the needs of early childhood students.

The ABLE program also seeks to help those wishing to pursue a career as an early childhood educator by offering them considerable teaching experience. In 2019, 37% of ABLE early childhood program members were offered employment to teach in preschool and K-12 settings. Additionally, after completing their service, $213,565 in educational awards will be available for participating members to help pay for college expenses or student loans.

The Service Collaborative of WNY Executive Director Kate Sarata said, “Our ABLE early childhood program is committed to serving the children of WNY preparing for kindergarten. After this past year, the program is excited at the possibility of having our AmeriCorps members serving students in person! We are excited to offer this program to community partners, investing in the future of 3- and 4-year-olds.”

A press release stated, “Studies have shown the immense difference increased school readiness makes for children, as they are more likely to succeed and earn more as adults, while also being less likely to drop out of high school. The program addresses this by specifically selecting students who have been assessed as performing ‘below’ development benchmarks in math concepts to meet in small groups with ABLE members twice a week for evidence-based math games with a goal of ensuring 80% of the students are ‘meeting’ or ‘exceeding’ standards by the end.”

Higgins, alongside The Service Collaborative of WNY, first announced the ABLE early childhood program and associated federal funding in 2019, with the goal to help put children on a path to school readiness. Since then, the program’s members have helped over 175 preschool children.

The Service Collaborative is one of just 16 awards granted in New York. Learn more about national service opportunities through The Service Collaborative of WNY by visiting tscwny.org.

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