Stigler Health and Wellness Center Inc. is announcing that effective Sept. 1, 2021, the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Region VI Office of Head Start Grants Management has awarded the local Head Start program to Stigler Health and Wellness Center's family of organizations.

The program includes Cherokee County students at Briggs, Grand View, Tenkiller, Woodall and Tahlequah schools.

"It is an honor to grow and enhance our organization to serve our communities through the addition of education services. It is my pleasure to announce our Head Start Program director, Caleb Knowlton," said Teresa Huggins, CEO at Stigler Health and Wellness Center.

Knowlton holds a Master's degree in Educational Leadership from East Central University and has been with the Health and Wellness Center for over four years.

According to Huggins, he has developed a strong knowledge of the programs and with his background and experience in education, the center has an unprecedented opportunity to enhance both community programs by combining the array of services available to families.

"Caleb is an excellent leader and will be an asset in this position for all the communities we serve," she said.

The Health and Wellness Center opened its doors in 2005 as a Community Health Center and has grown from a single location in Haskell County. Today, HWC contains several facilities: seven clinic locations, three pharmacies, one residential substance use recovery facility, as well as a mobile dental unit that provides dental care throughout the entire service area.

In 2020, HWC provided medical, dental, optometry, behavioral health, psychiatry, counseling, and substance use disorder treatment to nearly 30,000 patients.

"The heart of The Health and Wellness Center has always been providing quality care to our patients and our communities, and we know one of the most impactful ways to serve a community is by taking care of its children," said Knowlton.

"The Head Start program in this region has a long-standing history of commitment and dedication to meet children where they are in their educational journey, while also providing children and their families the resources they need to thrive each day. The Health and Wellness Center is thrilled for the opportunity to carry on the tradition through this mission.

Twenty sites consisting of 43 classrooms will serve a total of 681 children.

In addition to Cherokee County, sites will be operating in the counties and townships of: Haskell County, McCurtain and Stigler; Latimer County, Wilburton; McIntosh County, Checotah and Ryal; Pittsburg County, Hartshorne, McAlester and Quinton; Sequoyah County, Muldrow, Roland, Sallisaw and Vian; and Adair County, Westville.

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