Proceeds from Gobble, Gobble, Run or Wobble support the Learning Starts Early program developed by Saint James’ Episcopal Church and embraced by the Fauquier Preschool Coalition. The effort seeks to ensure that children of at-risk families in Fauquier County succeed in kindergarten and beyond.
Children without preschool training, typically from low-income families, are more likely to struggle in school, increasing the probability of discipline problems, unwanted pregnancies and incarceration, according to authoritative research.
Gobble, Gobble Run or Wobble draws more than 200 runners, some of them dressed as turkeys. Appropriately, turkeys from Whiffletree Farm in Warrenton will be awarded to first-place male and female overall finishers. There also will be age-group prizes.
Race organizers also ask for donations of new or gently used children's books. There will be a drop-off bin at the race starting line.
When Learning Starts Early began in 2015, the Fauquier Public Schools Preschool Initiative served 45 students. It has expanded to 84 students.
Because of community support:
• Seven students have received scholarships to Saint James’ preschool program, representing an investment of $25,782.
• More than 15 volunteers from Saint James’ spent 100 hours reading to boys and girls at Head Start.
• Head Start received $6,250 from Learning Starts Early to purchase easels, books and a digital white board. The program also won a grant from the PATH Foundation for Head Start performances by noted music educator Peter McCory.
• Learning Starts Early hosted a series of forums for parents of at-risk preschoolers, alerting them to the Virginia Preschool Initiative, the state and county program for preschool education.
• LSE bought a $3,150 translation system to serve preschoolers for whom English is a second language.