The Arc of Loudoun got a substantial boost in its plans to expand its early intervention preschool program this week with the presentation of a $250,000 grant from the Claude Moore Foundation.
During a special ceremony on Thursday, Arc CEO Lisa Kimball said the challenge of helping economically disadvantaged and disabled youth be prepared for the school setting is a growing challenge, with some 94,000 at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds throughout the commonwealth. Only about half of those have access to programs that can help prepare them for success in kindergarten and first grade, she said.
Unfortunately, even the Arc of Loudoun, which provides a wide range of programs to educate, serve and support people with disabilities and their families, has had to turn families away because there wasn’t room to help them.
Kimball noted that Gov. Ralph Northam has made a big push for expanded early intervention preschool with a significant financial investment.
At the Arc of Loudoun campus, the challenge is space.
“We need space. We need therapy rooms. We need classrooms. We need the beautiful outdoor space we have here to stay available to us. We need to have play spaces and conference rooms,” Kimball said.
She said the Moore Foundation grant will allow the nonprofit “to expand and really dig into early intervention.” The money will help complete renovations that will free up space to allow more students the Open Door Learning Center.
“We are so honored to be part of Dr. Moore’s enduring legacy,” Kimball said. “’Think things through and then go after it.’ That was one of Dr. Moore’s sayings and that’s what we’re doing right here with our early intervention program expansion, and we’re just going to continue to build.”
K. Lynn Tadlock, the deputy executive director of the Claude Moore Foundation, said the Arc’s work fits well with the mission laid out by the retired radiologist and real estate investor when he left his estate to be used to enhance educational opportunities throughout Virginia.
“Another one of Dr. Moore’s sayings was ‘don’t give them a hand out, give them a hand up.’ That’s what we believe we are doing here–giving you a leg up to continue on,” Tadlock said.
Arc board member Sonny Swann, co-owner of Climatic Heating and Cooling, said the grant was especially important because all of the nonprofit’s income from services is used for programs, with little money available for construction or furnishings. “This allows us to expand,” he said.