Early Learning Indiana this week awarded a $20,000 grant to Mt. Olive UMC Preschool of Marion as part of the $15 million Come Back Stronger Fund, supported by Lilly Endowment, to reinforce Indiana’s supply of high-quality early learning opportunities, especially for the state’s most vulnerable children. Mt. Olive UMC Preschool will use the grant funds to support safety-related expenses and challenges as it continues to serve families in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The health and safety of our children, families and staff is our top priority,” said Mt. Olive UMC Preschool Director DeShawn Wert. “In order for our community to come back stronger from the pandemic, high-quality child care is extremely important, and we’re committed to supporting families who need child care by providing a safe and educational environment.”

Mt. Olive UMC Preschool will be adding additional safety equipment to enhance safe hand washing practices, increase personnel and provide additional supplies to the children and families of the preschool.

Early Learning Indiana awarded a total of $2.34 million to 155 providers in this first round of grant awards. Mt. Olive UMC Preschool was required to submit a narrative on how it would use the grant funds and serve children from vulnerable populations, as well as meet the following criteria:

Be a licensed and registered center, ministry or family child care home provider in Indiana in good standing

Be an approved CCDF or On My Way Pre-K provider or a provider that otherwise serves children from vulnerable family populations, defined as households at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level

Operate as a Paths to QUALITY Level 3 or 4, or as a Paths to QUALITY Level 2 with a demonstrated commitment to achieving a higher level of program quality

Serve children ages 0-5

Early child care organizations can still apply for a Come Back Stronger Fund grant at www.earlylearning in.org/comebackstronger.

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