Cobb childcare providers awarded $4.5 million in grants

Cobb BOC Chairwoman Lisa Cupid speaks before TV microphones

Cobb BOC Chairwoman Lisa Cupid at Chamber offices (Photo by Rebecca Gaunt)

By Rebecca Gaunt

Cobb County government partnered with SelectCobb, an economic initiative of the Cobb Chamber, to award $4.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds to 197 childcare centers.

Recipients gathered for a ceremony Wednesday evening at the Cobb Chamber offices.

Photo by Rebecca Gaunt

“For so many of us, we can’t do what we do without you, and I want you to know that you’re seen here, that you’re valued here, that we need you here,” Lisa Cupid, Chairwoman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, told the attendees.

Jessa Depew, the owner of the Quadrilingual Academy in Smyrna, received one of the grants.

The academy takes children from one year of age through second grade. Depew has plans to expand one grade at a time up to fifth grade. The students learn English, Chinese, Spanish, and French. 

STABLE grant funding, which Depew said had really helped subsidize and stabilize the childcare industry during the pandemic, ended in September. The Academy opened in August 2020, when many childcare centers were closing.

“We’ve struggled from day one to stay open,” she told the Courier. “But we needed it for our family, and other families as well have benefitted from keeping our doors open.”

Photo by Rebecca Gaunt

Depew said the grant money will go toward teacher salaries and supplement other needs of the school for November and December.

Cobb County received $147 million in COVID-19 relief funds. The Cobb County Board of Commissioners targeted five areas for support: community health, support services, economic development, public safety, and county infrastructure. The childcare services were eligible under economic development.

“I am thrilled to be partnering with SelectCobb, the Cobb Collaborative, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning Childhood and WorkSource Cobb to support the industry that is the backbone of economic development and working families. This investment helps ensure Cobb’s working families have a place that will educate and nurture their children who are our future. This would not have been possible with the American Rescue Plan Act which is providing help for Cobb citizens, business, and infrastructure,” Cupid said in a press release announcing the event.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.