SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - A summer program aimed at giving kids a head start to kindergarten started this week even after it ran out of funding, but the future of the program is still hanging in the balance.
The Community Partnership of the Ozarks managed to scrape up enough donations and volunteers to keep the Kindergarten Camp program going this summer. But without the grant money to help pay for it, organizers are not sure how long it will last after this year.
During the weeklong Kindergarten Camp, kids get a crash course on what to expect when school starts. The program is free for families who can't otherwise afford to put their kids in daycare or preschool, but it costs organizers up to $600 per week to run the program.
Federal and local grants paid for that for the last four years, but that money was cut. Now the program running on volunteers, donations, and a much smaller budget.
Whether they'll have the same help next year is still up in the air, but organizers say the need for the program shows in the classroom.
"Not every child has gone to preschool or a daycare experience, or even an mother's day out," Dana Carroll with the Early Childhood Division said, "so this allows them to be able to practice that skill and get prepared."
Organizers say they're helping a little more than 30 kids through the program this summer.
The Kindergarten Camp program itself is running this week and for two other weeks this summer. The next Kindergarten Camp starts June 24 and the last one this summer starts on July 8.