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On May 7, 'Garden of Living 2013' fundraiser will help families at risk

The Hastings Community Education Little Learner Scholarship Fund recently received a grant from the United Way of Hastings. Now, it is attempting to match, if not exceed, that grant through a special fundraiser May 7 at the Hastings Country Club.

The Hastings Community Education Early Learning Advisory Council is sponsoring the event from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and admission is $5 at the door. The evening includes light appetizers, a wine tasting (for an additional charge) and a "Not So Silent" auction. A cash bar will be available.

Each attendee who gives a donation at the Wall of Giving will receive a child's art project as a token of remembrance.

Items are needed for the silent auction. Contact Early Childhood Coordinator Michelle Thompson at or at 651-480-7678.

Hastings programs

"Early Childhood Family Education is a program for families that begins with the birth of their first child," said program coordinator Michelle Thompson.

All of the teachers in the programs have teaching degrees and are specifically licensed in early childhood and parent education by the Minnesota Department of education. Home visits are provided for new parents and their babies. The program helps parent discover the tools to be and remain their child's first and most important teachers. Families are connected with services and that are important to the health and development of children. Daytime and evening classes are offered.

The curriculum is research-based and best practices are embedded in day-to-day routines. Families reach out and ask for help.

The Little Learner Scholarship Fund is an important part of the program, said Thompson.

"Our mission is to serve families and to give priority to families at risk," said Thompson. "Right now, requests for Community Education Early Childhood Programs scholarship assistance are steadily growing."

Thirty-two percent of program enrollees receive scholarships, she said.

"And we fail in our mission if we make it more difficult for lower- and middle-income families to benefit from our services," said Thompson.

More information about Garden of Giving 2013 is available at or by calling 651-480-7670.