Tri-County and CFNEIA Invest in the Future
July 9, 2018
Dr. John Berry looks at the faces of the students he is responsible for every day and thinks about what they could become. Astronaut. Nurse. Firefighter. Engineer. The President and CEO of Tri-County Child and Family Development Council oversees Head Start operations which serves 845 children in Black Hawk, Buchanan, and Grundy counties.
When the organization was forced to close one of its locations in Waterloo, it had to find new space for eight classrooms serving 144 students. New construction costs were prohibitive, so through ingenuity and necessity, storage space at two current locations, including it’s Maywood Center, was converted into classroom space. Maywood now houses four new classrooms thanks in part to an $18,750 grant from the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa.
“Head Start was designed to assist not only children but families, to empower them. We’re not a daycare. We teach children so they can be successful and prepared for the K-12, and I like to say college, experience,” said Dr. Berry. “The care here is exemplary. We may have a poverty stigma attached to us, but that’s definitely not how the children are treated.”
The program is essential to the communities it serves, providing a curriculum designed specifically to give low-income children a head start. Theprogram also allows parents to succeed by helping them fulfill work and school commitments, creating a more stable home environment. It’s about helping all kids get ahead so they can fulfill their greatest potential.
"We are eternally grateful to the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa for the grant. They saw the vision and bought into it. It helped push us over the top," said Dr. Berry.