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  Free To Grow
  Mailman School
  of Public Health
  Columbia University
  722 West 168th Street,
  8th Floor
  New York, NY 10032

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NOTE: as of April 17, 2007, the Free to Grow program has closed.
Grantee Profiles

Head Start of Greater Dallas

Organization Name Head Start of Greater Dallas Free To Grow
State Texas
Program Profile

Head Start of Greater Dallas (HSGD), the sixth largest non-profit program in Dallas, is a single-purpose organization that has been providing services for over 34 years to the Dallas County area.  The agency currently serves more than 4,000 children at 37 full-day centers located throughout low-income communities in Dallas County.   In addition to its Head Start services, HSGD operates two Early Head Start centers serving pregnant women, infants and toddlers, and a Home Base program serving families in their homes.

The target area for the Greater Dallas Free To Grow program is a community known as Frazier Court.  Within Frazier Court, Free To Grow works specifically with families whose children attend the Margaret Cone Head Start Center located in the Frazier Housing Project and the Frazier Elementary School.  Frazier Court is adjacent to the Union Pacific railroad tracks and the state fairgrounds, which were built in 1936 for the Texas centennial celebration.  Much of the housing in Frazier Court dates back to the same era.  Today, Frazier Court is a neighborhood that has many abandoned properties and the highest concentration of alcohol retail stores in Dallas.  Based on the 2000 Census, Frazier Court's population is mostly African-American with an increasing number of Hispanic residents.  The community has high rates of poverty, unemployment, and crime.  Recently, the Inner City Community Development Corporation has spearheaded efforts to revitalize the community with the construction of two new buildings that will house businesses, a computer lab, a police substation, and a childcare center.  The other strength of the Frazier Court community is its local elementary school:  the principal was named MetLife Principal of the Year for 2002-2003 and school received the Texas Education Association's highest rating of "exemplary" in both 2000-2001 and 2001-2002.

HSGD brings significant substance abuse prevention resources and commitment to Free To Grow.  The agency has it own substance abuse prevention unit dedicated to implementing substance abuse prevention and counseling services.

Free To Grow's partners include the American Cancer Society, City of Dallas Youth Empowerment Program, The Family Place, Frazier Elementary School, Holmes Street Foundation, Margaret Cone Head Start Center, Spring Street Police Station, True Lee Missionary Baptist Church, American Airlines, South Dallas Fair Park Trust Fund, and Rainbow Days.

For more information, contact Wanda Smith at (972) 283-6441 or via email at


copyright 2008 Free To Grow
Free To Grow is a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.