MEMPHIS, Tenn — Do you need $500 a month? A new program in Memphis starts in August and it'll pay parents $500 a month to participating families.
Equity to Prosperity targets low-income Memphis families with two-year-olds. This new Pre-K program is to ensure kids are on grade level when they start elementary school.
Eric Harris created this program under his nonprofit, Jessran. He previously worked as a principal for Greeter K-8 and is now working from the outside to change the education system. He also worked with the city of Memphis, Shelby County, the state of Tennessee and other organizations to make this happen.
"We are partnered with the University of Memphis and UT Health science center to provide research-based strategy and support to families and children to ensure we are tailoring things to them and not just using some curriculum because we have to," Harris said.
Research shows that a child's brain is 80% developed by 3 years old, so this new program is a game-changer.
"Pre-K is great for (age) 4, but it's age 2 when they start learning," Harris said. " A two-year-old can look at a picture and say 'this is TT or this mommy,' so it's no reason a two-year-old shouldn't be able to look at a picture of the letter ‘A’ and say that's 'A'."
Your child must be two or turn two by August 15 and you must meet the state's low-income requirements to be eligible.
This is a two-year program that follows Memphis-Shelby County Schools' calendar. The parents who sign up don't have to worry about anything but transportation because school supplies, breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided.
"It would be just like school for the children," he said. "The teachers who will be employed are just like school teachers, they have been through a lot of different various pieces of training just like a kindergarten teacher should be.”
Parents who are accepted into the program will get a $500 stipend every month until the child completes the 24-month program. E2P will be housed inside Kings and Queens Daycare in Whitehaven at 674 Westview Rd.
Only 25 families will be accepted for the pilot program. The deadline to apply is Friday and you can fill out an application here.