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Nuestra Casa receives grant for child services

Yakima Valley Community Foundation announced this past Tuesday that it has awarded $406,000 in grants to 18 Yakima County non-profit organizations.

One of those 18 organizations was Sunnyside's Nuestra Casa, which will receive $14,000. The money will be used to support a new Early Childhood Enrichment program for preschool children whose parents attend English as a Second Language classes at Nuestra Casa.

Nuestra Casa Director Sister Mary Rita Rohde said this is the fifth straight year the organization has received a grant from Yakima Valley Community Foundation.

"We're happy," she said. "We never know if we will get any grants each year we apply."

She said she thinks the reason Nuestra Casa has been so successful in getting the grants is because each program that's been started with the money, Nuestra Casa has been able to keep in place.

The grant money should arrive in mid-December and Rohde said the new program should be in place by the first week of January.

Rohde said the money will be used to hire a preschool teacher and a teacher's assistant.

While parents are attending classes at Nuestra Casa their children won't have to be in class with them. Instead, all two-, three- and four-year-olds will participate in learning activities. The teacher's assistant will help with the younger kids.

Yakima Valley Community Foundation uses its community impact grants to improve the quality of life for Yakima County residents. Targeted areas of support include health, education, social and human services, community development and the arts.

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