Mayor Emanuel cuts ribbon at new Early Learning Center

Mayor Rahm Emanuel cut the ribbon at the Early Learning Center Friday that has been established to serve the Englewood and New City/Back of the Yards communities.

The center, housed in the annex of Libby Elementary School, which was once in jeopardy of closing due to low enrollment will remain open and share its space.

The early learning center will serve as a bookend.  There will be 158 Children ages up to five years old. Nine instructors have already been hired and 7seven more are needed.

The mayor said he is “A big believer in early childhood education.”

In an exclusive one-on-one interview with WGN, Emanuel says he learned from his pediatrician father long ago that along with caring for our youngest children, you just can’t stop there.

Located at 53rd and Loomis, it’s a private-public partnership spearheaded by the city and Metropolitan Family Services — the oldest non-profit in the state dating back to the 1800’s.

President and CEO Ric Estrada says at the adult level mental health services, job placement legal aid will be offered for the kids and their parents.  He says metropolitan has already spent $600,000 for startup costs and will spend $1.8 million when all is said and done.

He believes this is money well spent.

As legal guardian for four year old Akira, grandma Torya Jones says it’s a perfect fit for the Englewood back of the yards communities.

As for the city’s public contribution that money says the mayor is coming from Chicago’s speed cameras.

Patrick Elwood, WGN News

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