Brenda Ellis, assistant superintendent, said the face-lift was long over due and she is pleased that the Excel By 5 Coalition members came together to work on the building.
"The resource center was originally established through a grant over 10 years ago and now the Cleveland School District is responsible for it," said Ellis.
"The coalition works with the district to improve the lives of families in Cleveland. We all got together on Friday morning to make the center more attractive. Some of the art work in the yard were done by children when the center was initially opened and they needed to be freshened," she added.
Ellis also said Excel By 5 promotes healthy living and development for children who are 0–5 years of age.
Excel By 5 is a community-based certification designed to improve a child's overall well being by age five.
The first-of-its-kind in the United States, this program emphasizes the important roles communities play in educating their children during their most formative years--birth to five.
"Last year, we did a face lift on the inside but this year we decided to make some improvements on the outside and I have been promised by the district that they will maintain the center and keep the yard up," she continued.
Ellis said Delta State University students, teachers and future teachers frequent the center.
"We have books, games and an assortment of activities that can be checked out to use at home. It has been an effective resource but we would like for the community to use it a little more," she added.
Ellis said the center could especially be useful over the summer because parents can check out materials for their children.
This could keep children reading and doing other educational activities that will or can promote skills and prevent regression.
"It is a known fact that the first few weeks of school are used for review. We sometimes have to rebuild that foundation that was previously laid before children can learn and start new material," said Ellis.
"When parents come to check out material, they just need proof of residency and a phone number. We need to know where to find you in case you do not bring the materials back," she added.
"Some parents may be struggling at home to figure out what they can do to get their children ready for kindergarten and the resource center can definitely help them," she continued.
"We also have a large number of parents who come and take advantage of the center because sometimes you cannot afford to buy certain materials for children – things just cost too much," said Ellis.
She said in the future, the district plans to move the parent liaison into the center.
"Currently, our parent liaison is housed at Cypress Park Elementary School because we do not have enough space for her at central office but we do plan to one day have her housed at the resource center because she is the Excel By 5 certification manager and she is involved with parent trainings, district wide. We also plan to continue to make improvements on the center a few times a year," she added.
For the convenience of working parents, the center remains open until 6 p.m., Monday – Thursday.
"There is a schedule listed on the door for the center's hours of operation. School is out now, so we will probably be open a little later than usual. Our children are our most valuable resource and the Parent Resource Center gives parents what they need to prepare children with literacy skills," said Ellis.