Starting Strong: 10 years of providing preschool scholarships to low income families

The late evening news on KEVN Black Hills Fox Monday-Friday
Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 9:54 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Starting Strong Rapid City hosted its 10th annual breakfast this morning. The Starting Strong program seeks to provide low-income families with opportunities to give children the preschool education they need.

The event is Early Childhood Connections’ biggest fundraiser of the year and all proceeds go toward tuition scholarships for families in Rapid City. If awarded, families in the program get their choice to attend a participating school, which also receives funds from Starting Strong in order to provide resources to teachers and classrooms.

The program has reached more than 400 kids, and today they set up 650 balloons, each one representing a scholarship they’ve given over the last 10 years.

“We are celebrating 650 scholarships given to over 400 children and that is kind of visualized as you look around the room. We want to thank the community for their donations and their support because they are, this is a community-based program and they really are the driving force that contributes to the scholarships that we’re able to give to children,” says Sunni Tozcek, Early Childhood Connections.

Mayor Steve Allender was honored at the event when he proclaimed April 28 as Starting Strong Day in Rapid City. He hopes the group will continue its early childhood education foundations even after he concludes his mayoral duties in June.