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Giving children high-quality educational experiences in their early years is vital. According to “Early Care and Education: The Economic Case,” the majority of brain growth occurs in the first five years of life, and that key time period cannot be replaced. Yet ironically, the least amount of public resources is applied to children during that time, so preschool opportunities are critical.
To help more Harrison County children receive high-quality early childhood education, the Harrison County Community Foundation has been funding Jump Start, a five-year pilot program that provides free, full-day preschool for income-eligible children in Harrison County, to enable the children to succeed in kindergarten and life. The children receiving free preschool make substantial progress throughout the school year.
Since the 2014-2015 school year, the Applied Research and Education Center (AREC) at Indiana University Southeast has released reports demonstrating the effectiveness of the Jump Start program. The reports describe the ISTAR-KR (state-approved Kindergarten Readiness) assessment results, which are compiled at the beginning, middle and end of each school year. The AREC has found that the preschool students in the Jump Start program make remarkable gains in reading and language development, math and quantitative reasoning development, and social and emotional development.
The AREC reports are linked below if you want to learn more about the impact of the Jump Start program. You can also call us at 812-738-6668 for more information about the program, how to qualify, and participating providers.
In addition to the Jump Start program, the On My Way Pre-K (OMWPK) program funded by Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration enables Harrison County 4-year-olds to receive free preschool. The OMWPK program also provides 53 weeks of free child care for the year the children are in preschool.
To participate in the OMWPK program, children must be four years old by Aug. 1, live in households at or below 185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, and have parents/guardians who are working or attending school. Children’s families must apply online at onmywayprek.org.
For more than a decade, Harrison County community leaders attempted to attract high-speed internet providers to our rural county. The goal has long been to have a reliable broadband service that can reach as many county residents as possible.
In 2014, as the result of a study and request for proposal initiated by the Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County and Connect Harrison County, Inc., Mainstream Fiber Networks (MFN) proposed to connect the county government buildings to each other and the internet via fiber optic cable. Linking the county buildings (now referred to as Phase I) created a fiber loop in and around Corydon. Phase I was financed entirely by MFN after securing long-term commitments to purchase services by the county and business customers along the initial route.
Phase II, which was planned and invested in 2017, was completed in September 2018. Phase II provided 122 miles of 72-strand fiber optic cable “backbone” reaching outward into rural areas with the reliability of redundant connections. The route reaches 81% of the addresses (both residential and business) in Harrison County.
MFN’s investment for Phase II was $10 million. MFN asked for additional local investment of $5 million, and in return, it agreed to expand to-the-home service at least one mile from the backbone. Harrison County government agreed to loan $2 million for the project and HCCF loaned $3 million in order to make it happen.
The availability of reliable fiber internet service allows more students to access the internet for research and participate in e-learning days when school is not in session. Distance-based learning and online college classes are becoming possible for county residents. Also, opportunities to work from home are expanding, and businesses located throughout the county are getting the connectivity that has long eluded them.
All of the partners in this initiative are proud to be able to help bring a long-overdue service to our county.
Harrison County Community Foundation (HCCF) COVID-19 Relief Fund
The Harrison County Community Foundation (HCCF) is committed to being a resource to help address the needs as they arise in our community resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. The HCCF COVID-19 Relief Fund will provide flexible resources to our nonprofit organizations serving Harrison County residents as they address immediate and long-term needs. HCCF will serve as a partner in the effort.
If you would like to join us in helping meet the need, you are invited to make a gift to the HCCF COVID-19 Relief Fund. Gifts may be made online at hccfindiana.org or by mailing a check to HCCF, PO Box 279, Corydon, IN 47112. Make checks payable to HCCF with "COVID-19 Relief Fund" noted.
You can give in any amount to
any existing fund.