Bill Clinton Visits Englewood Childhood Education Center | NBC Chicago

Bill Clinton Visits Englewood Childhood Education Center

Former president touts the importance of early childhood education

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    Former president touts the work of the Metropolitan Family Services Learning and Wellness Center. (Published Friday, June 20, 2014)

    Former president Bill Clinton made a cameo at an Englewood childhood education center Friday afternoon.

    Clinton is in the city to attend a fundraiser for Rahm Emanuel at Paris Club in River North later in the evening.

    Emanuel and Clinton arrived at the Metropolitan Family Services Learning and Wellness Center at about 4 p.m., toured the facility sat with the children as they read books.

    "That was really impressive in there. There's a lot of places in America where kids who are 5 years old couldn't read a book like that," Clinton told reporters.

    The location was chosen because of the many programs it offers to educate young children and their families.

    Clinton traced his interest in early childhood education back to when Hillary Clinton was studying it when they were both in law school.

    He praised the facility for its wraparound services that attempt to help parents be children's first primary teacher.

    "In Chicago you should be really proud of the fact that this institution is going to be supported by what, in the modern policy jargon we call wrap-around services. That there'll be health and nutrition training, that there'll be mental health options, there'll be efforts to teach the parents how to teach the kids better," Clinton said.

    The facility is the first of its kind in Englewood. It focuses on high-quality early childhood learning with a family wellness component that includes everything from mental health education to job readiness.

    Angela Rinehart's 4-year-old daughter is enrolled at the facility where she also attends GED classes.

    "After I get my GED they are going to help me get a job," Rinehart said.
    Officials at the center say they only learned Friday morning that the former president would be paying them a visit.

    "There is good in Englewood and we're excited the mayor has brought attention to this program," program director Jennifer Alexander said.