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With early learning center, Heritage Academy aims to boost opportunities for kids

Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 7:40 AM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A lot of challenges have been thrown our way in the past year.

Many families are struggling to find quality education and child care — something they’ve been dealing with even before the pandemic.

“How would I say to a mother a single mom maybe with two to four children who is already paddling with pretty hard to do what she can?” said Linda Tucciarone, director of Heritage Academy.

She says children who come from low-income families and grow up in low-opportunity neighborhoods often have high stress.

But she says for children who may still be coming from low-income families but are in high-opportunity neighborhoods, their stress is reduced.

She says that’s why they’re building a new early learning center for ages 6 weeks to 4 years old.

It will be across the street from Heritage Academy, which is at 333 Greene St.

“We are about to change the opportunity of this neighborhood,” Tucciarone said.

She says the construction site soon will serve as a place filled with opportunities for families regardless of their income.

“We’ve had parents from across the street who lost their job during COVID — we want to work with you,” she said.

“We have to consider all people — all levels of incomes and social status.”

She says it’s important to intervene early to increase literacy, but there aren’t many high-quality options for child care offered in the community.

“We are going to take your Georgia subsidized child-care voucher,” she said.

“Where the gap exists between what caps will pay and what it actually costs, we are going to provide additional assistance to you.”

She says the goal is to bridge the gap and work with each family individually.

“People care about their children,” she said. “They’re looking to build their future, but the needs of the present are pressing.”

Working to be a bridge, not a barrier.

“Our door’s open,” Tucciarone said. “Let’s talk.”

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