LAURINBURG — Block parties filled preschool playgrounds throughout the region on Thursday to promote early education.
Southeastern Family and Community Services collaborated with community members to throw block parties at all 15 of the area Head Start centers it manages.
“We had a Head Start nationwide block party that we opened up to the community to let them come in and see what we’re doing at the center,” said Tonie Brite, Head Start program director. “We also wanted to bring in resources and help the families at the center.”
The program is designed to provide preschool enrichment to children of low-income families, teaching comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition and parent involvement.
The program has centers in Laurel Hill, Laurinburg, Maxton, Elizabethtown, Longwood, Raeford, Mt. Olive, Pembroke, Piney Grove, Ransom, Red Springs, South Robeson, St. Paul’s and Tabor City.
Each center put on a block party Thursday to help expand its community resources.
“It was an outreach for the community so we could collaborate with different members and partnership with different agencies,” said Darnerker Ford, the Maxton Head Start manager. “Our program gives children a collaborative learning environment and helps people help themselves.”
The Laurinburg Head Start Center’s party took on a festive air as children donned their Halloween costumes to welcome guests including state Rep. Garland Pierce, Laurinburg City Council member Dee Hammond, and Chief of Police Darwin Williams.
“We want them to know our mayor, who our representatives are and county commissioners,” said center director Cynthia Washington.
The block parties invited community members, parents and the children to play on playgrounds and tricycles, line dance and dougie, get their faces painted with flowers and stars, and eat hand-grilled burgers and freshly popped popcorn.
“The children, families and staff members had a ball,” Brite said. “We had community members, vendors and even Lakeshore School Supplies came.”
The Lakeshore Learning Center, located in Mathews offered discount school supplies during the event. There were also firefighters, police officers, mayors, county commissioners, social workers, board members, and many more.
“It went well, we were just so glad to see such a great turn out,” Ford said. “We had about 90 people out here, which was a big turn out for our first annual event.”
Even though this was the first block party, it likely won’t be the last.
“We plan on throwing one every year,” Brite said. “This year had a nice turn out and put on great activities for the parents and children.”
For information on the Head Start program go to http://scfsnc.org/head-start-program/
Abby Hackmann can be reached at 910-506-3171.