From DelmarvaNow.com, Ted Shockley, 4 Feb 2012.
State faith group seeks funding to reopen
TASLEY — A number of Eastern Shore children found themselves without a pre-school readiness program Friday when a Virginia Council of Churches initiative closed its doors.
“They were incredibly disappointed,” said Ed Rossmoore, executive director of the Rural Family Development Division of the state church council, of impacted families.
Now Rossmore and advocates hope to raise the money to reopen the unique program, which began just last year.
The state church council operates Migrant Head Start Centers from spring until fall in Cheriton, Parksley and Tasley for children aged birth to 5 and their parents.
The centers help the children and adults of migrant farmworker families and remain open during the seasons they are on the Shore.
Last fall, however, the council decided to keep open its Tasley location on Fairgrounds Road for the school year.
“There was a need beyond serving the migrant farmworkers,” said Rossmoore. The new program ended up with 17 students from a variety of races.
“We realized we really should be serving other people in the community,” he said.
But the money ran out.
“We did more of a leap of faith instead of doing a detailed business plan,” said Rossmoore.
However, he said the parents’ reaction to the center’s suspended operations reaffirmed to Rossmoore its usefulness and impact.
“They were willing to do car washes and bake sales, and one father was willing to take on the role of custodian,” he said.
Rossmoore said the program also created some employment. Instead of being laid off when the migrant program ended, the staff was able to continue work.
“In a perfect world, last Friday I would have found $10,000 to keep it open,” he said.
He added, “We will regroup and identify more support funds.”
People interested in helping can contact Rossmoore at 804-321-3300.