ST. CLOUD -- The St. Cloud Rotary Club has been involved in a number of major initiatives in recent years and their latest one is helping to get more kids access to preschool.

This school year they are partnering with District 742 and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota for a program called Preschool 4 Success. It will provide free preschool programming for up to 60 kids in the district.

District 742 Executive Director of Teaching and Learning Lori Posch says the district already has preschool programs in every elementary building and at Quarryview, but there is a waiting list to get in.

The last full year of school we had over 200 three and four-year-olds on our waiting list.  We don't have enough classrooms.  As we shared our challenges and our barriers with Rotary transportation is a huge barrier for many of our families, the fee to be a part of preschool is also a barrier for many of our families.

Preschool 4 Success will be for four-year-olds who live in either the Southside or Roosevelt Boys and Girls Club neighborhoods, with 30 students in each building.

For more information call (320) 370-8250, or register for preschool at Quarryview Education Center at 800 7th Street South in Waite Park.

The Rotary plans to fund two classroom teachers, two paraprofessionals, operational costs, transportation, and additional costs for one year.

Rotary spokeswoman Gayla Holmgren Hoeller says besides the financial assistance to get the program started, club members will be rolling up their sleeves and pitching in where needed.

We'll be helping to set up the site and get things ready there.  We'll also be volunteering in the classroom, reading to students.  Part of the program is to go on field trips and exposing them to the larger community, so Rotarians will be volunteering with that.

They are still looking for community members who would like to sponsor a child with a $500 scholarship.

The Rotary Club Scholarship Fund
PO Box 713
St. Cloud, MN 56302

Hoeller says the St. Cloud Rotary Clubs larger goal is for universal funding for preschool at the state level and they will be actively involved in lobbying for that.

Other recent signature projects that the Rotary Club helped to launch include Pathways 4 Youth, the COP House, and the renovation of Eastman Park and the creation of Summertime By George.