Lourie Center Expands to Serve More Children and Families

Published on January 04, 2019

Lourie Center

Lourie Center Expands to Serve More Children and Families

The Lourie Center for Children’s Social & Emotional Wellness has provided early childhood mental health and educational services to the community for more than 35 years.

Thanks to its strong developmental programs, the organization has seen increased demand for its therapeutic services for children with social and emotional disabilities and their families. However, the center’s ability to serve children in need had been defined by the limited space at its Rockville, Maryland, location.

That capacity began to change in the fall of 2018 when The Lourie Center received a $500,000 donation from the Bainum Family Foundation to acquire 16,000 square feet of additional space at its current site. The Foundation focuses on improving the availability of educational and therapeutic resources for children and families.

This will enable the center to create more classrooms, increasing the number of students who can enroll. The grant also helps expand the Parent-Child Clinical Services Program, which provides outpatient mental health services for families with young children.

Jimmy Venza, PhD, executive director of The Lourie Center, recalls having to place some families on long waiting lists during the 15 years he has worked at the center.

“We are thrilled to be able to grow our site and serve more children and families in the community,” Dr. Venza said.


The expansion comes at just the right time, as The Lourie Center was selected by the Office of Head Start in September to provide Early Head Start (EHS) and Head Start programs to more families in northern Prince George’s County. The center has operated EHS programs in Montgomery and parts of Prince George’s County for 20 years. Now, after being awarded a five-year, $14.9 million grant, The Lourie Center will be able to serve an additional 200 children and their families.

Carmen Feliz, administrative coordinator for the center’s Parent-Child Outpatient Clinic, and her son, Noah, were enrolled in the EHS program from 2010–2012.

“The program helped me better support my son through parenting classes, socialization groups and connection to community resources,” Carmen said.

She was so moved by The Lourie Center’s work that she volunteered there and then started her full-time position in 2013.


  • The Lourie Center School is an elementary school serving children ages 4–12 who have social and emotional disabilities.
  • The Head Start program provides comprehensive child and family development services to low-income families with children from birth to age 5.
  • The Parent-Child Clinical Services Program offers outpatient mental health services to families with children from birth to age 12.

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