FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 3, 2014

Media Contact:
Blake Kush
518.463.3175 ext 144
bkush@albanycap.org

ACAP CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING

Early Childhood Education Center Narrows the Achievement Gap for Young Children in Poverty in City of Albany

Albany, NY - September 3, 2014 – Federal, state and local leaders celebrated the opening of the newly renovated Early Childhood Education Center at a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday, September 3. The new center provides high-quality early childhood education aimed at narrowing the achievement gap for low-income children in the City of Albany.

“We’re happy to introduce our latest accomplishment to our partners, the public and those who helped bring this project to fruition,” said Neenah Bland, Acting Executive Director “As the demand for early childhood education increases, this ceremony marks the long anticipated expansion of ACAP’s early childhood education program.”

The new site allows ACAP to increase their enrollment by 42 slots, for a new total enrollment of 485 children aged birth to five years. The Early Childhood Education Center will provide high quality early childhood learning to 84 under privileged children who reside within the City of Albany. It features a dedicated space, including seven new classrooms, an infant nursery, indoor play space, and a meeting room for parent groups. The Center will open on September 4 to serve children who have registered for the program.

Bland continued, “ACAP’s mission is to create opportunity that helps low-income children and families improve their quality of life. We’ll be furthering our mission by providing the early learning experiences these children need.”

Several decades of research shows that high quality, developmentally appropriate early childhood programs produce short- and long-term positive effects on children’s cognitive and social development. The ACAP Early Childhood Program incorporates a research-based framework that helps the children develop social, emotional, language and literacy skills for narrowing the achievement gap between children in poverty and their peers from higher-income households.

Nearly 40 percent of all children under the age of five in the City of Albany live in poverty. The new center will help meet this overwhelming need. Additionally, ACAP provides the children and their families with health, nutrition, and other family development assistance and parent engagement activities.

Speakers included Congressman Paul Tonko; Assemblyman John McDonald; Senator Neil Breslin; County Executive Daniel McCoy; Councilman Judd Krasher; and ACAP Board President Nathan Lebron. Children registered to attend the Early Learning Center and their parents were also in attendance.

Congressman Paul Tonko said, “Ensuring Capital Region youth receive a quality education from day one is critical to strengthening families. Albany CAP is a long-term investment in our children’s future and the success of our communities. I thank Neenah Bland and her entire team for their tireless work to boost our area.”

Assemblyman McDonald said, “Early childhood education benefits children, their families and the community. I commend ACAP for their commitment to helping low-income families.”

Senator Neil Breslin said, “I am proud to support the Albany Community Action Partnership and this expansion of early childhood education which will provide more children with the opportunity to begin kindergarten ready to succeed in school and beyond."

Councilman Judd Krasher said, “We are proud to have ACAP in our community. They are going to even the playing field and our children will go to kindergarten better prepared to learn.”

County Executive Daniel McCoy said, “ACAP is providing the early learning opportunity our low-income families need. This expansion is truly a benefit to the community.”

ACAP Board President Nathan Lebron said, “As the poverty rates in Albany increase, meeting the growing demand for Early Childhood Education has become a priority for ACAP. Now, more children and families will benefit from this early learning experience.”

About Albany Community Action Partnership (ACAP)
Since 1966, ACAP has worked in partnership with families and communities to empower people to achieve economic self-sufficiency and an improved quality of life. Services include early childhood education and child care, career services, housing and energy assistance and tax assistance. For more information, visit www.albanycap.org

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