The Family Center of St. Mary's has received a $5,000 grant from the Bank of America, money that county officials say will come in handy in efforts to improve child development programs.

"This grant will allow us to serve our families and children better," said Pat Morales, director of the Family Center in Lexington Park, a public program that teaches parenting techniques to young parents with small children and offers job training, high school equivalency programs and classes in computer skills.

Bank of America donates about $1 million a year to small nonprofit groups around the country through a program called Community Catalyst grants. St. Mary's Family Center was one of a number of groups that received grants this quarter, totaling $250,000.

"We are happy to be able to provide this funding boost to Family Center of St. Mary's County," said James A. Delligati, regional executive director for Bank of America.

"By providing quality, on-site child care to young parents while they are participating in education and training programs, Family Center of St. Mary's helps keep families together as they work hard to improve their lives. Local children and their parents are reaping lifelong benefits from this successful program."

Morales said the grant will be spent on child development programs and the center's computer laboratory.