Local Center Offers Summer Program After Being Closed for Years

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Panama City- Head Start officials say it's been about three years since they opened their summer program.

"Parents love the program, it gives them the opportunity to not to stress to try to find places for them to go," said Shante Holmes, Chapman Early Education Director.

Head Start is a federally funded program that prepares families and young children to enter kindergarten.

20 preschool students are attending the program at Chapman Early Education Head Start Center on the 29-hundred block of east 11th street.

3-year old jasmine tucker's mother works full-time and her family is thankful she was accepted in the program.

"She's an only child so she doesn't have siblings to be around and maybe have all the activities that they offer here," said Shiela Lewis, Jasmine's Grandmother.

The program runs from 8 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon, Monday through Friday.

The before care starts at 7:30 in the morning and the after care ends at 5:30 in the afternoon.

Thanks to a combination of funds and local donations the center was able to open its doors.

"This year we have one classroom. It's the kind of program we kind of have to cobble together funding from different sources," said Pamela Fleege, Early Education and Care Executive Director.

The students breakfast, lunch and snacks come from the USDA food program.

Officials say the students that attend haven't been exposed to many experiences.

"They may not have as many stories read or have as many books or they don't get to go to the library and so the more experiences we can offer the better prepared for school they are," said Fleege.