Mid Florida Community Services held a ribbon cutting and community open house Saturday to show off their new Spring Hill center at 11245 Spring Hill Drive.
Patricia Keelean, director of programs and operations, said the nonprofit organization is a federally funded program and part of the national community action agencies helping families become "self-sufficient" and stable.
Keelean said purchasing the Spring Hill building made sense because about 70 percent of the Hernando County residents served live in the unincorporated town.
Right now, Mid Florida Community Services works with 131 children aged 3 to 5 as part of the Head Start program, preparing them for kindergarten.
About 100 children are on a waiting list to enter the program — which provides meals, after care, health screenings and speech therapy in addition to classroom learning — mostly due to space. Children are selected based on family circumstances and the income level of their parents.
Other programs offered include the Children Advocacy Center, a café for seniors, the Energy Assistance Program and the Family Self-Sufficiency Program.
At the Saturday event, children ran through bubbles and hula-hooped while adults enjoyed popcorn and waited for the next door prize to be raffled off. While the day was very much a happy one, Keelean said the staff is "very concerned about March 1," the next deadline for Congress to vote on spending cuts.
Cuts to discretionary spending would take money away from organizations such as Mid Florida Community Services, Keelean said.
Keelean said the budget cuts would be "devastating" in Hernando County, and directly affect many area children. The organization is about encouraging individuals and families, many of whom just need to be told "you can do it," and receive a little help along the way to achieving their goals, Keelean said.
"Families cycle through crisis one generation after another," Keelean said. "We want to be the power that intervenes and provide hope for the future."