Archive for Thursday, March 17, 2005

A grant over the Rainbow

March 17, 2005

Rainbow Experience Preschool will be offering a scholarship program to families to allow more children into the school, with the help of a grant and corporate sponsor.

Less than two weeks ago, Rainbow received a $3,000 grant from the Douglas County Community Foundation.

"We were excited," said Angel Fursman, REP board of directors president. "We were shocked, frankly. We had applied for a grant for $5,000 last year and gotten it. We didn't think the chance of us getting a grant back-to-back years was very likely. So we were shocked and surprised, but excited."

It marked the second grant Rainbow has received the last two years. Last year it also received a $5,000 to purchase new classroom equipment and supplies.

Then earlier this week, Rainbow got its first corporate sponsor. Jackson Hewitt Tax Service will be giving Rainbow $500 a year to help keep the scholarship available.

The scholarship that will be available will give some families a chance to enroll their children into the program.

"Part of our board's concern is that maybe our tuition is limiting the number of people who could really afford it," Fursman said. "So we wanted to create a big scholarship program to maybe allow more students to come into the program. What we've decided to do is offer discounts based on family income. It's a sliding scale tuition program."

Dana Hart, REP President, said the grant will help many families in the community.

"I felt that we can offer more services to families with less income," Hart said. "I'm excited that we can grow in the community. I have a feeling many families will take advantage of this."

As of now the two-day class at Rainbow costs $905 a year, while the three-day class is $1,085. Presently there are 40 students enrolled. The grant and sponsor will help families afford those prices and enroll their students in preschool.

Rainbow teacher Susan Demarest said preschool is important for children.

"Preschool is an excellent opportunity," Demarest said. "It gives them social skills. It gets them on the track for reading. We prepare them for having a positive experience in school."

Fursman also said preschool is important for children.

"A child with basic foundations is only going to help them succeed in their learning throughout their years," Fursman said. "We want to make sure everyone has that opportunity available to them."

Fursman said her main reason for applying for the grant was to allow more students into the school that has been in Baldwin for many years.

"The preschool has been in the community for a long time, and the previous boards have worked hard to elevate the academic standards in our program," Fursman said. "We've achieved those and been very successful. Now we want to open our doors to allow more children to enroll. We would like to see more students coming in."

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