On Monday, May 18th the National Head Start Association (NHSA) will join thousands of students, parents, teachers, lawmakers and community partners in celebrating Head Start’s 50th Anniversary.
Exactly 50 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced the creation of Head Start from the White House Rose Garden, giving our nation’s most vulnerable children access to a quality early childhood education. Since its creation in 1965, Head Start has improved the lives of 32 million children and their families, laying the foundation for lifetime success, both in school and in life. As the premier model for quality early learning, Head Start’s comprehensive approach–which includes services such as home visits, health screenings, improved nutrition and two generation efforts–gets children ready for kindergarten and sets families on a stable path toward self-sufficiency.
The Head Start community will commemorate this historic milestone by planting rose bushes across the country, inviting Members of Congress to visit local Head Start centers, and hosting an array of celebratory events to recognize Head Start’s incredible 50 years of success. NHSA joins these Head Start centers in renewing the nation’s shared commitment to expanding access to quality early learning.
Monday, May 18th will serve as a crescendo to an invigorating yearlong celebration of Head Start. Among the highlights was NHSA’s Anniversary Conference, where Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell gave a keynote speech revealing her own inspirational story as a Head Start child. Hundreds of new alumni joined Secretary Burwell this year in proudly identifying themselves as Head Start graduates, and sharing their stories with the nation. NHSA has also forged new and exciting partnerships with a number of organizations, including Nike, Lakeshore Learning and the Crayon Collection.
“Over the past 50 years Head Start has represented our nation’s shared commitment to ensuring every child has the opportunity to reach for the American Dream,” said NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci. “As we celebrate 50 years of success, and 32 million lives transformed by Head Start, let’s all renew our commitment to 50 more years of ensuring all our children, regardless of circumstance at birth, are given a chance at success.”