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HumanKind establishes first Early Head Start program in Bedford County

The program will also be established in Amherst County and Lynchburg later this year
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 8:36 PM EDT
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BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Right on Route 122 is Bedford Christian Church.

With a quick ribbon-cutting Monday, it became home for another service.

Vibrant-colored classrooms will soon host HumanKind’s Early Head Start program after the organization’s announcement last year.

“Early Head Start is a federal program that supports infants and toddlers in our community. It’s the first time that it has been available in our region,” said Ashley Graham, director of family and children services.

The program will address childcare needs for kids up to age three.

By doing so, the new classrooms will help cut into an important issue for the area.

“A childcare desert is a community where there are more than three children for every one childcare slot available, and in Bedford it is actually seven times that rate. There are 21 children for every childcare slot,” said Graham.

To help address the issue, the church had to do about $70,000 worth of renovations.

Senior Minister David Walton says undertaking the service was all about being indispensable for the community.

“The church has had a 100-plus-year ministry in the Bedford community and they’ve done a lot of great things, but we have to ask the question, if we closed tomorrow, who other than ourselves is going to be impacted? To my mind, that’s what indispensable means,” said Walton.

With plans to get Early Head Start going later this month, HumanKind says they’re ready to start the long-awaited program.

“It is an incredibly exciting day. This has been a dream for over three years and we finally get a chance to see it come to fruition,” said Graham.

The program will have a total of 16 slots, but they hope its start here will encourage others to keep the momentum rolling.

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