Rhoda Martin Early Learning Center
A Community Project in Jacksonville Beach
The Rhoda L. Martin Early Learning Center provides much-needed support for 2 and 3-year-old children and their families. Episcopal Childrens’ Services provides the Head Start program and operates the center.
The goal of the center is to provide comprehensive research-based educational programs, social support services, tools and resources to promote healthy development, all with measurable outcomes, so that children can enter pre-school eager and ready to learn, ready to read and ready to succeed.
Led by Christ Church, the center’s development was a community effort. The PLAYERS, the church, and private donors made it possible to build, equip and open its doors in 2016. The work of developing and supporting the center is ongoing. For more information on the project, contact Father Tom Reeder.
The Rhoda Martin Early Learning Center honors the legacy of the woman whose life was dedicated to ministry and education in the Beaches’ first African American community. St. Andrew African Methodist Episcopal Church, the First Missionary Baptist Church and the first local school for African Americans were formed in the kitchen of Mother Rhoda L. Martin’s Shetter Avenue home over 100 years ago. Today, in the same Jacksonville Beach neighborhood, the Rhoda L. Martin Cultural Heritage Center provides a local history museum and programs for elementary school aged children. The new Rhoda Martin Early Learning Center is located directly across the street from this historic property.