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A Parade And Provisions For Big Bend's Early Learning Providers

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Tom Flanigan
Early Learning Coalition staff stationed at several tents handed out classroom supplies to the providers as they drove through.

The Coalition's 250 early learning providers in the seven-county area now have sufficient supplies to get the new classroom term underway, even if many other uncertainties remain.

A long line of vehicles stretched around Tallahassee's headquarters of the Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend on Saturday, Aug. 8. They were there to be filled with classroom supplies for the upcoming school season. Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend CEO Elizabeth Murphy said there are 250 early learning providers in the 7 county area of North Florida.

"We actually surprised them with an appreciation parade and we're going to load up their vehicles with all kind of wonderful materials they can use in their classrooms at the beginning of the school year. Paper, paints, Play-Doh...you name it, they're getting it. And books. Most importantly books, because every child needs to read at an early age."

Famous mix-master DJ Demp was pumping out the tunes. And Erin Smeltzer who heads Florida's thirty Early Learning Coalitions came out to help.

"The Big Bend Coalition is really unique," she observed. They're really innovative and creative about reaching providers."

All of whom have a big, and somewhat uncertain, job ahead of them in the months to come.