$500,000 grant benefits early childhood education in East Lubbock

Published: Apr. 4, 2015 at 9:38 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2015 at 5:41 PM CDT
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The newly renovated Lil' Precious Steps facility in East Lubbock
The newly renovated Lil' Precious Steps facility in East Lubbock

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Tiffanie Turner instilled the value of a good education in her two boys from a very early age.

“They really didn't have anything for him to do in school and kept trying to figure out what daycare he went to because he already knew everything,” Turner said.

That daycare was Lil' Precious Steps Early Learning Center in East Lubbock, and the force behind her sons' quality of learning was the day care's executive director, Charlotte McCarty.

“No one thinks infants need early education – it's a must,” McCarty said. “It starts not only in the homes, but it starts in the daycare as well.”

A unique partnership between Texas Tech University's Early Head Start program and McCarty's day care aims to improve and enhance early child care for families in East Lubbock.

Early Head Start is a program for pregnant women and families with young children. It recently received a four-year grant worth $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant will provide year-round child care services for almost 100 children in East Lubbock, and Lil' Precious Steps was one of the first child care facilities that received funding from it.

“This is just overwhelming,” McCarty said. “To have a community that cares about what you're doing means more than you can imagine. This is way bigger than anything I thought it could be.”

Lil' Precious Steps has been open for about nine years. The Early Head Start grant provided child care for more than 50 children and because of its growth, the day care expanded its space after McCarty found an old firehouse and had it redone.

“We want people to have hope for their future and to feel that there are opportunities laying ahead for them that they hadn't had before,” StarCare Specialty System CEO Cathy Pope said. “Having a facility like this, especially with Early Head Start funding is significant.”

For people like McCarty, one of the best ways to better the world is by investing in its next generation. She hopes the funding and support she is receiving will help her mold well-educated and goal-oriented young citizens.

“I think the kids are our life,” McCarty said. “This is the beginning. 500K on this little corner is a blessing.”

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