POCATELLO — Hirning Buick GMC has made a significant contribution to expanding access to high quality early learning programs in Southeastern Idaho. The dealership will make a donation of $8,000 to the United Way of Southeastern Idaho to expand access to high-quality early learning programs in our region through tuition scholarships for low to moderate-income families. Specifically, these scholarships will support the United Way of Southeastern Idaho’s Preschool the Idaho Way collaborative in American Falls by funding scholarships for 10 three and 4 year-olds in that community.
Kevin Bailey, CEO of the United Way of Southeastern Idaho, said, “We are extremely grateful for Hirning Buick GMC’s commitment to expanding access to high quality early learning programs in our community. They understand how vital it is to ensure that all children have access to high-quality programs that get them ready for academic success, and they are committed to making a difference for working families in our region.”
Kelly Hirning, president of Hirning Buick GMC, said, “Moms and dads naturally want the best for their children. Modern research is conclusive on the importance of a quality preschool program and its effects on the long-term success of today’s students. As a member of Idaho Business for Education, we also understand the significant impact that an educated workforce has on the success of our state and our economy. Making sure that our children can read at grade level, from kindergarten through the third grade, is an identifiable goal we can all agree on. We hope our donation makes a significant impact on the lives of 10 additional students and their families.”
Over the past year and a half, the United Way of Southeastern Idaho has been facilitating a preschool collaborative effort with the goal of increasing the number of high-quality preschool seats in the American Falls community. This was initially funded as part of the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children’s Preschool the Idaho Way initiative. Because of this collective community effort, preschool seats have been expanded in American Falls through partnerships with American Falls School District 381, St. John’s Preschool, Lighthouse Too and American Falls Head Start. Research shows that access to high quality early learning programs is a significant predictor of future academic success. Accessing high-quality programs is especially difficult for low and moderate-income families. The United Way of Southeastern Idaho expects to invest approximately $46,000 this year in preschool scholarships, and donations from investors like Hirning Buick GMC are helping make sure that those scholarships remain available long term.”
An American Falls parent summed up the impact of this effort, saying, “I want to say thank you, especially for the opportunities for a scholarship. That helps many families with the affordability of preschool because it is a significant cost.”