Community steps in to improve JD Clifton Head Start - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Community steps in to improve JD Clifton Head Start

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CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

Calcasieu Parish takes pride in its Head Start program and its success is recognized across the state. 

For a school system to hail this program is one thing, but for the community to take pride in it restores some faith in humanity. 

One group of volunteers helped out JD Clifton Head Start by giving it a makeover. Calcasieu Parish School Board (CPSB) officials are thankful for the group of young adults joining efforts in making JD Clifton Head Start a better place for young students. 

"There were spots where you could tell it definitely needed the work," Kete Lanty, 17, said. Lanty organized the effort called, "The Eagle Project," to spruce up the facility.

Students from across Calcasieu painted the walls in the hallways and in the bathrooms.

"I, for one, I love helping out in general. That's something I've always loved doing," Lanty said. "And to be able to help a school in something they definitely needed and that they were glad to have and want, felt terrific in my opinion."

Head Start teacher Dawn Kreider agreed. The touch-ups had an amazing effect on the look of the facility and on the attitudes of the students. 

"The hallways just look fresh and bright and just show off the children's artwork and all the great things that we're doing here at the center," Kreider said.

It's something the CPSB and the community recognizes.

Close to 130 students are currently on the waiting list to get into the Head Start Program in Calcasieu, according to Superintendent Wayne Savoy.

Savoy said this is an opportunity that youngsters, and parents, shouldn't miss out on.

"The children that had those opportunities were scoring higher on state standardized tests than those that were not exposed to that Head Start and that pre-school opportunities," Savoy said.

And seeing other students give back to the community will have a lasting effect on the children.

"If a child is looking at children, young adults helping them, then they have an opportunity to remember that and maybe they'll reach back and help somebody else," Savoy said. "Education is a community effort. Everybody really is a teacher."

And the young adults who helped improve JD Clifton look forward to giving back to the community.

"I definitely will continue to help out in community service and helping out people as far as that goes," Lanty said.

It's a chance to give back so those students at JD Clifton Head Start can move forward.

While there is still a proposed 5 percent cut to the Head Start program, Savoy said it shouldn't take away any of the services currently provided in the Head Start programs in Calcasieu Parish.

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