New head start center opens in South Memphis

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- More South Memphis infants and toddlers are getting to go to preschool.

Federal grant money allowed Non-profit Porter-Leath to open a new early Head Start center this school year in the one of the city's poorest zip codes giving children the chance for long-term learning success.

"As grant funding comes down, we open our program to service more children, so every year, the program has been blossoming and growing," said site Manager Sonja Nesbitt.

Sixty-four children, ranging from infants to three-year-olds, enrolled.

"Working with the children on individual needs to get them developmentally where they need to be, and then we do just regular every day fun hands on learning," said Nesbitt.

Porter-Leath said it opened in South Memphis because the neighborhood needed it the most, as it's one of the poorest zip codes in Memphis.

City data said the average household income is $21,000 a year and two out of five families live in poverty.

Kids are accepted based on their situation like if they have a disability, their family's income and educational backgrounds.

Employees told WREG a parent walks in every day hoping to enroll their child, and right now, there are a hundred parents on the waiting list.

"Every child needs to be in a Pre-K program of some sort to get those beginning foundations of routines and socialization," said Nesbitt.

Porter-Leath said results show, the kids getting a head start in education are more likely to graduate from high school and college and are less likely to need special education and repeat grades.