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$100K Earmarked For Big Island YWCA Pre-School Program

March 25, 2022, 9:59 AM HST
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U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz’s office stated Friday, March 25 that the Democratic congressman secured $100,000 in congressionally directed spending, also known as an earmark, in this year’s appropriations bill for the YWCA of Hawai‘i Island. The money will be used to help fund technology upgrades, supplies, and teacher training for the nonprofit’s Developmental Preschool Program.

“Early childhood education is incredibly important to a child’s development, health, and successful future,” Schatz, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a news release on the allocation. “This new earmark funding will make sure kids on the Big Island have more resources and well-trained teachers to learn and grow.”

The YWCA of Hawai‘i Island offers an accredited preschool centered on the development of 2 through 5 year olds in East Hawai‘i. The nationally accredited program provides 50 weeks of preschool per year for Hawai‘i Island families, offering a safe learning environment that supports a child’s needs in preparation for kindergarten.

The new congressionally directed funding in this year’s appropriations bill marks the first year members of Congress were able to make earmark requests since they were banned in 2011. Schatz secured more than $240 million in federal earmarks for local nonprofits and state and local agencies.

The bill was signed into law by the president on March 15.

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“The YWCA of Hawai‘i Island is thrilled and grateful for this support from Senator Schatz’s office and his exceptional staff. This opportunity will not only help our teachers with resources but also support our commitment that every child should have the opportunity to go to preschool. Preschool is where children meet their first friends, create social bonds, and engage in creative play,” said Kathleen McGilvray, CEO of YWCA of Hawai‘i Island. “The funding will continue our dedication to mental health supports for young children and their families dealing with current stressors from COVID-19, past stressors like the lava flow displacement, in addition to daily life stressors. This funding will help us with program stability and continuity and establish a lifetime love of learning for Hawai‘i’s children.”

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The YWCA of Hawai‘i Island is a not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is the elimination of racism and empowerment of women. Established in 1919, the organization offers services and programs which include: the only non-private nationally accredited preschool; the only 24/7 sexual violence hotline and comprehensive survivor services program for Hawai‘i Island; and the only nationally accredited home visitation program to prevent child abuse and neglect for newborns to 3 year olds across East Hawai‘i.

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