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New Head Start Program to Serve East Jacksonville Community

The Office of Mayor Alvin Brown

More than 120 children living in Jacksonville’s Urban Core will get a "head start" on early learning, thanks to a lease agreement between the Jacksonville Children’s Commission (JCC) and Lutheran Services Florida. The organizations have teamed up to re-open the Don Brewer Early Learning Center.

The center closed three years ago because of budget cuts but the program will start up again this fall under the leadership of Lutheran Services.

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown announced the opening at the Center Tuesday with JCC CEO Jon Heymann, City Council member Johnny Gaffney and Lutheran Services President Samuel Sipes.

In a written statement, Brown said the public-private partnership will "expand opportunities for families to participate in Head Start’s comprehensive approach to early childhood education."

"It will also enable the city to put the Don Brewer Center back into use for its original purpose as an early learning resource for the community,” he said.

The five-year lease agreement allows Lutheran to operate the federally-funded Head Start program at the Center. The group was awarded an $18 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in March to manage Head Start programs throughout Duval County.

You can follow Rhema Thompson on Twitter @RhemaThompson.

Rhema Thompson began her post at WJCT on a very cold day in January 2014 and left WJCT to join the team at The Florida Times Union in December 2014.