Gwinnett – Continuing their legacy of commitment to strengthening communities, United Way of Greater Atlanta and Gwinnett Technical College announce a partnership designed to reach and teach young children ages six weeks to 8 years.
As part of the partnership with Gwinnett Tech’s D. Scott Hudgens, Jr.Early Education Center, United Way has provided a grant to help ensure the community has highly trained, well-qualified early education professionals to work with our youngest children.
“We are thrilled to be the recipient of this grant,” says Becky Olson, director of the D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center. “We designed our program to be a model child development center for the state to give our youngest citizens a solid foundation on which to build a successful future. Our leadership and expertise in early childhood education are known across the state. In fact, this year alone more than 700 educators and community leaders toured the facility to carry our model into their communities. This generous United Way gift allows the Center to continue to ensure that the quality of education for our young people is of the highest caliber.”
Etha Henry, executive vice president, United Way of Greater Atlanta says “United Way of Greater Atlanta is proud to team up with the D. Scott Hudgens, Jr. Early Education Center, a key partner in our mission to improve child well-being in Greater Atlanta. Early literacy has a large impact on a child’s ability to read on level by 3rd grade, which is a critical milestone for future success. It’s of vital importance to provide all of our community’s children with access to high-quality early learning experiences. Together, we can lay strong foundations for our community’s children.”
The Hudgens Early Education Center is already recognized as delivering a high level of education and care, recently earning a 3-star quality rating from Bright from the Start. “This 3-star rating is earned by only 10% of the early childhood centers in Georgia,” according to Olson. Quality Rated is Georgia’s system to determine, improve and communicate the quality of programs that provide child care. From its opening, the Center has followed best practices in Early Childhood Education. The Center has been recognized by Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education for modeling best practices in early education.
Contributing to the 3-star rating are the exceptional programs, faculty and facility design in the 26,000 sq. foot Hudgens Center. In addition to highly-skilled, certified teachers, The Hudgens Center serves as a hands-on “apprenticeship” learning environment for students in the College’s Early Childhood Care and Education degree, diploma and certificate programs. Following best practices in early childhood education, the Center often pilots programs for the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.
Mary Beth Byerly, vice president, institutional advancement at Gwinnett Tech, celebrates the United Way and Gwinnett Tech partnership over the past decade around this child development center. “We have similar missions – to help ensure children are successful – and for Gwinnett Tech, to train teachers and influence the lives of these children.”
The Hudgens Center was built in 2006 with private funds given by generous individuals, corporations and foundations who wanted to support exceptional excellence in education for children. United Way was one of those generous donors and for that, the College is grateful. Byerly states, “Our mission remains the same; to increase the number of certified early childhood educators, to be a model center for education and care and to remove barriers for our students as they continue their education on our campus while their children thrive at the Hudgens Center.”