Early Childhood Studies Program At Steve O’Neil Apartments

Allowing Kids To Start Early

DULUTH, Minn.

UMD’s Early Childhood Studies Program teamed up with the Steve O’Neil apartments to get a jump start on literacy.

The program is geared toward kids under the age of five at the apartment complex all in an effort to address disparities the children face. To start the program, representatives from the Duluth library, the Northland Foundation and Chum were on hand to read a book to the kids.

Kids were up to the task today getting a head start on literacy. A literacy program designed for the nearly 30 children who are under five that live at the Steve O’Neil apartments.

“The basis for everything we do at Steve O’Neil is around the families and the children. The earlier that we can support children whose zero to five versus our youth program the better,” says Liz Strohmayer, Site Director at Steve O’Neil Apartments.

Apartments that help the less fortunate get a leg up during difficult times.

“We have to build report and relationships with the families that live here and by doing that then we can actually deal with some of the trauma that they’ve gone through in their life,” said Strohmayer.

Bringing resources, like scholarships, from the Northland Foundation to help with child care.

“This is a way that the state is helping families particularly those that are economically challenged to be able to pay for child care,” said Lynn Haglin, Vice President of the Northland Foundation.

Giving parents the tools and resources to be the best parent they can be.

“It’s hard, it gets real hard. Because sometimes you don’t have the money or resources to make ends meet. To have resources at the tip of your finger is definitely a plus to be a mom,” said Regina Lee, a mom of three.

With education and community support, the Steve O’Neil staff will continue to do all they can to help tackle the poverty cycle at any age, sending a strong message to parents.

“You can go and get your G.E.D. You can show your kids that you can be just as successful as you want to be and overcome some of these challenges and barriers,” said Strohmayer.

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