Cobb County Head Start reopens thanks to donation - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Cobb County Head Start reopens thanks to donation

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COBB COUNTY, Ga. -

A Texas couple's donation to Head Start programs across the country meant that more than 2,200 children in north Georgia returned to classrooms on Tuesday.

Cobb County Head Start was one of many programs nationwide forced to close to the partial government shutdown.

Thanks to a $10 million donation from Houston philanthropists Laura and John Arnold, kids were back to learning on Tuesday.

"God bless their heart. I mean it's just wonderful. It's just wonderful because this at least gives us more time," said Karla Salinas, a Head Start parent.

Salinas is grateful that she could take her son, Danny, back to the program she says has really helped his development.

"He goes to speech therapy, and it's really, really helped him a lot. This school has been a blessing to him," said Salinas.

The Arnolds believe in the Head Start mission to prepare children for kindergarten, and said in a statement:  "We believe that it is especially unfair that young children from underprivileged communities and working families pay the price for the legislature's collective failures..."

Head Start director Michelle Patterson was happy to tell her staff and parents to come back to school, but until Head Start is fully funded, she says the crisis continues.

"Without federal funds, it's just not possible to stay open on private donations even though they are appreciated," Patterson said.

The Arnold family's donation benefits more than 7,000 at-risk children across the country. The emergency funding will only last until the end of the month.

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