New Early Head Start Center Expands Equity in Education for Greater Trenton Families

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony early this month, The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey proudly announced the opening of its newest early childhood services center this summer. The Vivian B. Shapiro, MSW, PhD Early Childhood Center, a program of Early Head Start will create 40 new jobs paying a living wage, instructional and developmental opportunities for 80 Mercer County infants and toddlers and offer 10 new cutting-edge classrooms.

This Early Childhood Center fills an educational void for lower-income infants, toddlers and parents in the Greater Trenton area. By offering instruction and care to infants and toddlers, Early Head Start provides a pivotal opportunity for developmental growth in a child’s life. Limited life experiences, including poor eating habits, inconsistent learning environments, and a lack of social interaction, are hugely detrimental to a child’s social and emotional development, and can have lifelong repercussions. “Early Head Start is the solution to supporting children from very low-income families by seizing critical periods in development,” said Isaac Dorsey, Director of Head Start at CHSofNJ. “It is the best investment we can make as a society to ensure that these vulnerable children are set up for success. This new center represents the CHSofNJ Board’s largest commitment to meeting the critical need for Early Head Start services for expectant parents and children birth to age three. When children are provided high-quality early education, research shows they are better equipped to excel in every capacity later in life.” In remarks made during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new center, Isaac added, “As a former Head Start student myself, I am a living demonstration of the benefits of Head Start.”

The ceremony drew nearly 100 attendees including Princeton University President Emeritus Dr. Harold T. Shapiro, spouse of Dr. Vivian B. Shapiro for whom the new center is named, as well as their daughters Janet, Karen and Marilyn, and granddaughter Sophie Eisenberg. According to CHSofNJ CEO Donna Pressma, “The early childhood learning opportunities we are providing through Head Start would not have been possible without the advocacy and expertise of our former Trustee, Dr. Vivian Shapiro.”

Also present were New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy, Hamilton Township Mayor Jeff Martin and Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora. “I am proud to call The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey a trusted partner in our state’s initiatives to help vulnerable infants and children achieve their full potential,” said First Lady Murphy.

Trenton Thunder Ballpark stadium hosted the Trenton Education Dance Institute (TEDI) on Thursday for its 33rd annual live dance performance, Field of Dreams

TEDI is a youth development program within the Trenton School Districts working with students from fourth grade through high school. Kayla James, the artistic director of TEDI, explained that its purpose is to help students during their school careers.

“Just to kind of get them working as a team, and concentrating on developing their skills all through dance and live music,” James said. The showcase on display for Trenton residents was from students in fourth through sixth grade.

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NJ is leading the nation! CHSofNJ is so proud of New Jersey to be the 2nd state to extend Medicaid health coverage for up to 1 year postpartum for eligible women – a critical time because more than half of pregnancy-related deaths occur after delivery. The change will help 8,700 NJ postpartum women. Governor Murphy, First Lady Tammy Murphy and their federal partners have successfully led the way to increase birth and health equity for many low-income women and women of color that CHSofNJ serves. (https://www.nj.gov/governor/news/news/562021/202111028a.shtml

HEALTH CARE ACCESS AND EQUITY NOW IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

Major Tax Relief for Working Families

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If you’re a renter having trouble paying your rent, utilities, or other housing costs – or if  you’re a landlord trying to stay afloat with tenants in this situation – help may be  available. State and local programs are distributing billions of dollars in rental assistance  to help renters stay housed during the pandemic. 

CFPB’s Rental Assistance Finder includes resources to help renters and landlords navigate various financial hardships related to the  pandemic.

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