Head Start center partners with local business

The Anoka County Head Start Center has forged a partnership with a local company.

Head Start students, parents and volunteers from Cummins Power Generation work on paiting flower pots during The Great Outdoors at a July 10 event at the Anoka County Head Start Center in Coon Rapids. Photo by Peter Bodley

Head Start students, parents and volunteers from Cummins Power Generation work on paiting flower pots during The Great Outdoors at a July 10 event at the Anoka County Head Start Center in Coon Rapids. Photo by Peter Bodley

Since March, Cummins Power Generation, which has a plant in Fridley, has been providing volunteers and funding for activities for preschool children attending the Head Start center in Coon Rapids and their families.

The afternoon of July 10, a group of Cummins employees came to the center to volunteer their time and talents at The Great Outdoor at Head Start event.

Activities included making a bird feeder, creating a bug catcher, painting a flower pot, making a kite, a snack and a scavenger hunt.

“Cummins Power Generation is a strong partner in supporting many of the Head Start programs,” said Leah Cason, Head Start family and community partners coordinator.

Since the partnership began in March, volunteers from Cummins have worked at a number of Head Start events, including the families doing good program and an obstacle course activity, according to Cason.

The partnership began through the efforts of a father and daughter – Gary Lafine, director of purchasing at Cummins, and his daughter Jessica Lafine, a family service worker at the Head Start center.

According to Lafine, the partnership started from his love of kids – his wife ran a day care in their home for many years – and the encouragement of Jessica, who knew he liked to work with kids.

In addition, Cummins has a very strong volunteer commitment, encouraging its employees to volunteer in the community, Lafine said.

Indeed, Cummins, which has two plants in the Twin Cities – Fridley and Shoreview – has 25 community partnerships through its EEEC (Every Employee Every Community) program, he said.

Cummins workers are asked to do at least four hours of community service work a year, but most employees do a lot more than that, Lafine said.

There are 2,000 Cummins employees in the Twin Cities, including 800 at its Fridley location, he said.

Head Start, which is operated by the Anoka County Community Action Program, is a free comprehensive preschool program for lower income families with children up to the age of five.

It provides educational, health, nutrition and social service assistance to children and their families who are income eligible.

Any families enrolled in the MFIP program, receiving SSI and having foster children are eligible even if their annual income exceeds the current guidelines.

Available Head Start programs are full-day, full year; part-day, part-year; and home based.

Cummins Power Generation is a world leader in the design and manufacture of power generation equipment, according to its website.

Part of the worldwide power systems business which has annual sales of more than $1.2 billion, Cummins Power Generation is a division of Cummins Inc.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

 


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