Unique program teams up young children with seniors for early learning

    Programs through the United Way's Early Learning Center offers struggling parents a chance to get their children in daycare and education programs, while also teaming the programs up with local seniors (WSYX/WTTE)

    Inside the doors at the Columbus Early Learning Center on Champion Avenue, educating children starts at an early age.

    It's one of the many reason why Allyson Eads brings her 14-month-old son Avett. Another big reason is that the center helps families who struggle financially.

    "When we were looking for childcare, we really were having a hard time. We tried to find a place that would be a good fit for him and that was financially something we could afford, " Eads said.

    Through several Columbus partners, including the United Way, The Columbus Early Learning Centers can ease the burden for working families.

    "These families we work with may have both parents working, but they may not be working in a professional field. They may be day laborers or work in the service industry. So even if they have a one or two income household, it's still not enough money to access high quality early learning programs, " said Gina Ginn the Executive Director of Columbus Early Learning Centers.

    Daycare in Columbus can run $1,200 to $1,400 a month on average. Many families at the center receive the care for free.

    "Partners like United Way have the ability to serve families who may not otherwise be able to afford it, " said Ginn.

    The center offers low student-to-teacher ratio, and the center on Champion Avenue has programs where senior citizens interact with the children.

    "It's really a wonderful experience to see and witness what great relationships and deep bonds the seniors form with the kids, " said Ginn.

    For Allyson Eads, she says she doesn't know where she'd be without the center's help.

    "The financial aspect is the biggest benefit for me, personally, " she said.

    You can find more information about Columbus Early Learning Centers on their website.

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