At the grand opening of the Marygrove Early Education Center, Ann Kalass, CEO of Starfish Family Services, addressed the audience at the grand opening of the multi-million dollar center, saying, “an incredible community of partners made this dream come true.”
The new center features cutting-edge design that will support young learners. In addition to an innovative high-quality curriculum in the classroom, Starfish Family Services will offer holistic support for children and families through behavioral and developmental health services, informed trauma care, parenting classes, and prenatal support, among other wraparound services.
Mayor Mike Duggan, Rip Rapson, CEO of the Kresge Foundation (pictured above), and the center’s director, Celina Byrd, were among the speakers at the socially-distanced event.
The P-20 Cradle-to-Career Campus at Marygrove will comprise educational opportunities from prenatal to Pre-K, K-12 to post-secondary graduate, as well as wrap-around services and community engagement programs. At full capacity, the school will serve roughly 1,000 Detroit children and their families, primarily living in the surrounding Livernois-McNichols neighborhoods.
The initiative represents a $50 million community investment on the campus of the former Marygrove College in northwest Detroit, which is the largest philanthropic investment into a Detroit neighborhood in the city’s history.
Brent Smith (pictured above), one of the first parents to enroll a child in the center, spoke about his experience with his wife and his young son, named Legend. Smith is an advocate for the center and raves about its beauty.
Earlier this year, principal Byrd said that the center will provide “systems-level change” to the community and in early childhood education overall, adding, “the center really is an opportunity to showcase what’s possible.”
Photos by Darrell Ellis for The Kresge Foundation.