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Prairie Meadows Grant Supports Early Learning


Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino has awarded a $250,000 Prairie Meadows Legacy grant to United Way of Central Iowa. The grant will continue to support the Prairie Meadows Early Learning Classrooms, located in the George Washington Carver Community School in Des Moines. The grant also supports the Voyager Passport / Ticket to Read early literacy program at Carver and Moulton schools in Des Moines.

Shown presenting the big check to the United Way Board of Directors are United Way Board Chair Cara Heiden, Prairie Meadows CEO Gary Palmer, United Way President Shannon Cofield, and Prairie Meadows Community Relations Director Julie Stewart.

The Center, operated by Des Moines Public Schools, has helped local preschool children make great strides in school readiness since it opened in 2006. The latest Prairie Meadows grant fully funds the preschool learning for 34 three and four-year-old children who live in designated low-income neighborhoods. Each child also receives dental, vision, hearing, literacy and development screening. The Center is staffed by degreed child development professionals.

“Prairie Meadows again demonstrates their commitment to improving early care and learning for our community’s children,” says United Way of Central Iowa President Shannon Cofield. “Prairie Meadows ongoing support of our community’s Education goal means more children will start kindergarten with the skills to succeed in later grades.”

Des Moines Public Schools’ kindergarten pre-assessment scores show the children enrolled in the Prairie Meadows Early Learning Center make great progress in counting and letter identification, two important indicators of school readiness.

The grant was awarded through Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino’s Legacy Grant Program, which funds large-scale projects to improve education and human services in central Iowa.

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