Community Services Center shows off new WB Early Learning digs

Oct. 27—WILKES-BARRE — A former night club space has a bright new, calming blue look with detailed nature photographs on hallway walls and lots of images of smiling children, clearly ready for a new purpose as a one-stop resource center for low-income parents seeking early learning-related services.

“We moved here in June,” Pamela Cho said to a small group of staff, resource partners and supporters during an open house of the new Early Learning Resource enter in Wilkes-Barre’s Midtown Village Mall. The Community Services for Children (CSC) facility had been about a mile away on North Main Street, and the new location “has a bigger footprint and is more accessible” to area clients.

CSC’s vice-president of Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRC), Cho touted the many agencies and organizations that partner with Allentown-based CSC as it works in 17 counties of Northeast Pennsylvania to “improve the quality, affordability and access of early learning opportunities” to economically disadvantaged families.

She also showed a brief video of the variety of services and programs CSC runs or facilitates. Along with the ELRCs, the agency works with Head Start/Early Head Start pre-school programs, offers professional development opportunities for pre-school workers through the Early Childhood Institute, and operates two programs funded through the state Educational Improvement Tax Credit program: Pre-school scholarships and the Innovation Program to spur interest in technology skills in Head Start children.

A media release accompanying the open house described the ELRC as “a place where families can find high-quality early education opportunities, apply for assistance to help with childcare costs or access other resources that will set them on a path to success. It is also where child care providers can receive information on improving program quality. The ELRC offer a single-entry point for families, early learning providers, and communities to gain information and access services that support children and their families with the ultimate goal of improving quality, accessibility and affordability of early learning in Pennsylvania.”

Luzerne County Head Start Executive Director Lynn Evans Biga praised the partnership with CSC and noted it helps Head Start fulfill the mission to not only help children succeed, but by so doing help them succeed as adults.

Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown stopped by to praise the work of CSC and its partners, recounting his mother’s own work with Head Start.