Ed Rachal Grant to Increase Young Children, Toddlers on TAMIU Campus

Visitors to Texas A&M International University in the Fall will see a cheerful army of young children playing with building blocks and crayons around campus thanks to a generous grant that will allow the University's Childhood Development Center to increase the number of children it serves (photo).

The $31,880 grant, provided by the Ed Rachal Foundation, will make it possible for the Childhood Development Center to provide day care services to a maximum of 75 extra children in two new rooms dedicated to two and three year olds and three to five year olds.

The Center currently serves approximately 36 infants and toddlers from low-income families.

The Ed Rachal Foundation is named in memory of South Texas rancher Ed Rachal. The Foundation's mission is to carry out the provision of Rachal's last will and testament stipulating that his estate be utilized "exclusively for the benefit of charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes within the State of Texas."

Dr. Linda Medearis, Center director, said the grant is of welcome assistance in its expansion of services.

"It's wonderful because of the recent state budget cuts, it was going to be so difficult for the University to be able to provide the funds to support the additional two rooms. Besides, this grant will allow us to buy furniture and materials to set up our new rooms," Dr. Medearis said.

Located in Dr. Billy F. Cowart Hall, the Center opened in Summer 2002 under a grant provided by the Child Care Access Means Parents In School (CCAMPIS) Program of the U.S. Department of Education.

To be eligible for the program, parents must be TAMIU students and demonstrate financial need. Children of faculty and staff members can also participate if space is available after students with financial need have been serviced first, Medearis said.

The Center's purpose is to help students with children participate in higher education and improve the quality of children's lives.

For further information, please contact Center coordinator Mayra Blanco, at 326-2421, e-mail mblanco@tamiu.edu or visit offices located in Cowart Hall.

University summer office hours are 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Offices are closed on Fridays.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu