The Star Democrat

Judy Center breaks ground in Greensboro

- BY TOM MCCALL tmccall@chespub.com

GREENSBORO — A group of Caroline County leaders came together Dec. 17 at the barren building site of the new Judy Center Early Learning Hub in Greensboro. Many of them donned white constructi­on helmets and seized golden shovels to commemorat­e the groundbrea­king.

“Best practices lead the design,” said Eric Shore, project manager. “A lot of it came from Tearesa (French) the director, who knows the building better than anyone else. So it was more listening than anything else.We tried to keep it on budget. It is 7,800 square feet.”

Tearesa French, supervisor of the Caroline County Public Schools’ Family Support Center and Judy Centers, spoke on the mission of the new Judy Center being built in Greensboro.

“It has been a dream since 2004, when we got the Federalsbu­rg one built,” French said. “It is wonderful to serve the northern end of the coun

ty. It’s a support for all children from (ages) 0-5. We provide case management services, and adult ed and ESL for parents. Right now it is probably for 300 children a year for actual early Head Start classrooms and adult education. It should be ready sometime in the fall.”

Early childhood developmen­t is often talked about as the foundation for a person’s whole life. Now this integral service is being offered to children in the northern part of Caroline County.

“All the research points to children’s brain developmen­t from 0-5, but particular­ly 0-3,” French said. “When you’re working with that age group, you have to be working with the parents to make true change for those children. So that’s part of what’s so important, so they get that early start.”

The projects started in 2004, when the Federalsbu­rg Judy Center was born. Caroline County officials and educators thought it would be great to have another location to serve the northern end of the county. Funding for the Greensboro center began to come together in 2014.

“When you look at the list of Judy Center partners, we are envisionin­g that the health department will have services in here, that the Multicultu­ral Resource Center will too,” French said. “We want to be available to families in the day and the night. It will be ready sometime in

the fall, and that, folks, is my last move into another building, but I appreciate everyone’s help.”

Katie Northam of Whiting-Turner said, “We want to say a quick thanks to all of our tradespeop­le out in the field, who really made this thing happen and bring the project together.”

Heather Harding, coordinato­r for Caroline County Early Head Start to be housed in Greensboro Judy Center, said, “The Judy Center really is the tie that is going to bring the community day care partners as well as Head Start through the Maryland Rural Developmen­t Corporatio­n. We also have a PAT (Parents As Teachers) home visitor program that also works with families and pregnant women. It really pulls together so many programs that work with ages 0-5.”

There are lots of people on the ground who will do the the day-to-day work of the Judy Center.

Cindy Clark speaks Spanish. “I support the families and I translate. I have a background in education and my degree is in early education. It’s the little smiles that make it all worth it,” she said.

Derek Simmons, interim superinten­dent of schools, said, “We have two actual Judy Centers.We also have a family support center in Denton, and we have a satellite site in Ridgely. This gives us the opportunit­y to serve with over 7,000 square foot facility that is much closer to where they live. It’s on the same campus as where the kids will eventually go to school. The beauty of a Judy Center is that it is both early education and a place for social services. It is the birthplace of the community model.

“Sometimes the hardest part of navigating the system is knowing the rules of the system,” Simmons said. “And we’ll have full time people to help with that.”

 ?? PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL ?? County Commission­ers Larry Porter and Daniel Franklin get their helmets on in preparatio­n to throw some dirt with golden shovels to break ground on the new Judy Center in Greensboro.
PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL County Commission­ers Larry Porter and Daniel Franklin get their helmets on in preparatio­n to throw some dirt with golden shovels to break ground on the new Judy Center in Greensboro.
 ?? PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL ?? The principle actors took that magic first scoop of dirt at the Greensboro Judy Center, which will offer the people of the north county lots of early education, day care and social services. They will also offer English as a second language services in both Spanish and Creole.
PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL The principle actors took that magic first scoop of dirt at the Greensboro Judy Center, which will offer the people of the north county lots of early education, day care and social services. They will also offer English as a second language services in both Spanish and Creole.
 ?? PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL ?? The Greensboro Judy Center is the long-enduring vision of Tearesa French and Derek Simmons, interim superinten­dent of Caroline County Schools.
PHOTO BY TOM MCCALL The Greensboro Judy Center is the long-enduring vision of Tearesa French and Derek Simmons, interim superinten­dent of Caroline County Schools.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States