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CESA #11 Head Start receives grant From the Otto Bremer Foundation for direct support of enrolled families health and safety needs

CESA #11 Head Start announces that it has received a $47,510 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation. The grant specifically targets three health and safety needs of the low-income families in their care: CPR/AED training, basic first aid training and supplies, and suicide prevention.

CESA #11 Head Start serves income eligible families in Western Wisconsin from Barron, Chippewa, Dunn, Pepin, Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties.  They have 708 children enrolled and serve pregnant moms, infants, and toddlers to age 5 through center-based classroom, combination classroom/home visit options, full home visit programming and programs specifically targeting pregnant and parenting teens.

Through the grant funds received, 425 families will receive Heart Saver CPR/AED training either on-site or through partnerships with community agencies.  For those families not able to attend the training due to health or transportation restrictions, DVD based kits have been purchased for each home visit team to provide training one-on-one in the home.  In addition to CPR, the grant will provide funding for basic first aid training at each site and complete first aid supply kits will be distributed to all families in their program. Head Start plans to collaborate with their community partners, such as EMT’s or local health clinics, to provide this training in-house to the families.

The program expects these trainings to provide critical self-help skills to over 500 low-income families in Western Wisconsin this year alone.  Learning these skills will not only help caregivers know what to do in family crisis situations, but also will assist them with basic skills to help their neighbors and actively engage in their communities.

Finally, Head Start staff will be receiving training on suicide prevention.  According to the Burden of Suicide in Wisconsin Report published in 2014, counties clustered in the Northern and Western regions of Wisconsin experienced the highest suicide rates in the state.  They point to the frequency of crises, physical and health problems, job problems, and other life stressors as circumstances of suicide and the need for suicide prevention programming in settings where individuals experiencing such stressors are likely to be found.   Ten members of the CESA #11 Head Start staff will receive on-site training in Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) and become certified trainers.  QPR teaches three simple steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide.  It shows how to recognize warning signs and how to refer someone to get help.  Once these staff members are trained, they will be able to train other staff members, parents, and community partners.

The administration sees great potential for early intervention and promotion of family stability as a direct result of this training.

CESA #11 Head Start is already beginning their enrollment process for the fall. Families interested in participation in the program can visit them on-line at

Created in 1944, the Otto Bremer Foundation assists people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation in and for the betterment of their communities. The Foundation strives to help build healthy, vibrant communities in the places that are homes and neighbors to Bremer banks—communities where basic needs are met, mutual regard is prized and opportunities for economic, civic and social participation are within everyone’s reach. The Otto Bremer Foundation owns 92 percent of Bremer Bank, and receives an equivalent share of the bank profits that are paid out as dividends. This means that a large portion of bank profit is invested back in local communities through grants and program-related investments.