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Education: Grant from college president helps parents pay for preschool

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

There was a simple reason for Dr. Irvin D. Reid’s decision as a child to leave his parents’ home in Pawleys Island to live with his grandparents in Jamestown over in Berleley County.

“I made that decision because that’s where the books were,” he said. His grandparents had an entire set of World Book encyclopedias and he still remembers the joy he found within those pages.

That small bit of Reid’s life story is a good indication of the importance he places on education and why he gives money annually to the Pawleys Island Child Development Center in Parkersville. It’s not just because his sister-in-law, Lillian Reid, is the center director.

“I’ve always felt that Pawleys Island is my home, and this center gives children an opportunity to learn and get on track. The earlier children start learning, the better prepared they are for a lifetime,” said Reid, who now lives in Detroit and is on the faculty at Wayne State University. He is the school’s president emeritus and is also former president of Montclair State University in New Jersey.

Reid’s contribution to the center this year is in the form of a challenge grant. If the center can raise $12,500 by Dec. 31, he’ll match the funds.

The grant will provide scholarships for seven children whose parents can not afford tuition at the center, said Lillian Reid. Scholarships are generally available cover 50 percent of the tuition cost, but a sliding fee scale is available for parents who can’t afford that.

For parents who can’t pay anything, they’re allowed to offer in-kind services instead, aiding the teachers at the center or cleaning the facilities as the center doesn’t have a janitor.

Scholarship recipients, ages 2-5, will learn preparatory skills that will enable them to enter public school equipped with the skills needed to succeed, she said.

“I felt that given the challenges this child care center has, one thing I could do was try to raise visibility in terms of value to the people,” Dr. Reid said. “If we lose this center, the loss is truly impactful, not only for individuals, but for society and the community.”

While he realizes these are very difficult times for people economically, he hopes the challenge will motivate people to reach out to the center to whatever extent that they can.

The center started raising funds to meet the challenge a few weeks ago and has already raised about $10,000, Lillian Reid said. It received one donation for $5,000 and the rest of the funds came mostly from small donations.

“The community has just pulled together,” she said. “I’m amazed by how quickly we have raised this much, but people are good, especially this time of year.”

The center still needs to raise $2,500 in the next 23 days to match the grant. Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 202, Pawleys Island, SC 29585.

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