ORLANDO, Fla. - A bare community room may not look like much, but nonprofit leaders say it will soon become a lifeline for many Orlando families in need.
"The school they're going to provide for these kids is awesome and the impact it will have on their lives and their families is just tremendous," said Shannon Nazworth, CEO of Ability Housing.
The Village on Mercy, an affordable apartment complex near Pine Hills, has been selected by the Bezos Academy as the site of its first Florida preschool.
Started by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the school will provide free preschool to local children. Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill represents the area and says it will be a big help to many families.
"When you start talking about the median income in that community is less than $15,000 a year. One of the major expenses for many of those parents is child care," Hill says.
The Bezos Academy preschool will provide Montessori-style education for about 40 kids both in the local neighborhoods and beyond.
"They're going to have a preference for some of the slots to be for our students, but some of the slots will also be for members of the community," Nazworth said.
Administrators say the Bezos Academy is footing the entire cost of upgrading and renovating the space into the new classrooms. Families earning up to 400% of the federal poverty limit with children ages 3-4 will be eligible to apply.
They have not yet set up a timeline for when the school will open.
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