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Head Start program expands services

The Dona Ana County Head Start program, based at New Mexico State University, plans to expand services at its Anthony, N.M., center with a recently awarded $130,000 federal grant.

Head Start aims to increase the number of children enrolled at the Anthony center from 30 to 60 by early 1999, said Mary Jane Embury, Head Start project director. The community of Anthony has the greatest need in the county for Head Start services, she said.

"October is national Head Start Awareness Month, so the grant comes at a particularly good time," Embury said.

Dona Ana County Head Start is a federally funded preschool program, for children ages 3 to 5, which now reaches 222 families. Centers also are located at NMSU, two Las Cruces housing communities, Mesilla, San Miguel and Vado. Head Start provides educational, nutritional, medical, dental, mental health, parent involvement, family, transition and disability services.

With the $130,000 grant, Head Start will hire four or five new staff members, buy school supplies and equip a new classroom at Anthony, Embury said. The program already had funds for a new portable building. It will be placed near the existing portable on the Anthony Elementary School grounds. An open house will be held early next year, Embury said.

Head Start also has been awarded a $47,000 federal grant to add a new minibus to the program's fleet of 12 buses and vans and pay for other needed equipment, Embury said.

To celebrate Head Start Awareness Month, staff members, parents, policy council members, community partners and volunteers will wear red ribbons. Photos from Head Start centers are on display in the second floor lobby of NMSU's O'Donnell Hall.

For more information about the Head Start program, call (505) 646-3245 or 526-9725.