Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

February 6, 2014

Free preschool up for grabs in TCAPS raffle

TRAVERSE CITY — One lucky family can jump-start their toddler’s education for free through a Traverse City Area Public Schools raffle.

The first-place prize for the TCAPS’ raffle is one year of free preschool worth more than $5,300. The second-place prize is a half-year of preschool worth about $2,600.

But time is running out to enter the drawing. Tickets sales end Saturday.

All raffle proceeds fund scholarships for TCAPS’ tuition-based preschool classes. Last year the district raised

about $13,000 in scholarship money through the raffle, said Angel Elsenheimer, an administrative assistant to the district’s Early Childhood Office.

This really helps a lot of our families,” Elsenheimer said.

Great Start Collaborative coordinator Mary Manner said there’s ample research that proves the importance of early childcare in a child’s social and emotional development.

But early childcare isn’t cheap. Full-time, year-round childcare costs about as much as one year of tuition at Michigan State University, Manner said.

“The difference is presumably you’ve had a little time to save when your kid goes to college, so for young families starting out it really is a challenge,” she said.

Tickets for the TCAPS raffle tickets cost $10 each. They can be purchased from Elsenheimer at the district’s Boardman Avenue offices. They also can be purchased by phone at 933-1759.

The drawing will occur at the Boardman Avenue offices on Feb. 21 at 4 p.m.

Elsenheimer said all families, not just those with young children, can enter the raffle. First- and second-place prizes can be exchanged for $1,500 or $1,000 in cash, respectively. A third-place winner will receive $500 in cash.

Prizes are good for two years if a family’s children are too young for preschool. Winners can also give their free preschool prizes to other families.

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