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VIDEO: Head Start opens in Riceboro

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The Coastal Georgia Child and Family Development Center held a historic occasion on Friday, July 22, when it opened the doors of its brand new Head Start in Riceboro. This event was monumental, as this is the very first Head Start building built in Liberty County.

The opening was packed with visiting dignitaries from all over southeast Georgia.

The building itself is 42,000 square feet and will play a host to approximately 200 children, ranging in age from 6 months to 4 years old.

When the ceremony began, the keynote speaker, Abra Lattany Reed of the Board of Directors of the Coastal Georgia Area Community Action Authority, welcomed everyone in attendance and thanked them for coming out.

State Rep. Al Williams spoke next, welcoming those at the ceremony and detailing the journey of how the Head Start building came to fruition. He also gave a word of encouragement to never underestimate the value of having a grand vision.

“You can make a difference in people,” Williams said. “Anytime you can do that, just remember the vision.”

Pastor Neil Dawson of First AB Missionary Baptist Church led the invocation afterward.

Several other guests shared of their involvement with the building and expressed their sheer delight at seeing this project completed. They included Donald Lovette, Chairman, Liberty County Board of Commissioners; Chris Stacy, Mayor, City of Riceboro; Dr. Robert Brown, CGACAA Board Chairman; Marion Stevens Sr., Commissioner, District 1; Allison Settlerlind, State Head Start Collaboration Officer; and Craig R. Buckley and David Holton, Buckley & Associates.

Tres Hamilton, CEO of the CGACAA, gave a very detailed account of the process, which he said started about seven years ago. The Liberty County Board of Commissioners applied for a Community Development Block Grant on their behalf in an effort to help, and they subsequently received the grant. They also received a disaster grant from the Office of Head Start. That combination allowed them to build the facility at no cost to the county or its taxpayers.

Hamilton was thoroughly excited at the completion of the facility and the overwhelming turnout for the ribbon-cutting.

“It’s a big, huge relief,” Hamilton said. “We’re excited about the fact that we are going to have so many families that will be able to serve here, and we’ll be able to serve our families in one location.”

He said they’ll also be able to serve families through their community services as it relates to their other support programs, such as housing assistance.

When Stevens spoke at the event, he had the same level of enthusiasm and expectations as Hamilton.

“I hope that all parents who have small children will utilize it and come out and see what’s going on and enjoy this facility,” Stevens said.

The closing remarks at the ceremony were given by Hamilton and Nina Bryant-Hunter, Division Director of the CGACAA.

All the dignitaries gathered together to cut the ribbon before a tour of the facility proceeded.