Community Rallies For Head Start
Here in Canada we are inundated with news from our neighbours to the south. Every time you turn around recently it seemed all we were hearing was about the government shutdown in the United States of America. Living in Canada it is hard to comprehend what impact it would have until you are experiencing it.
In the U.S.A, Head Start is a federally funded program. It started in 1965 as part of the "War On Poverty" led by the Johnson administration. The federal budget for Head Start in the United States is over $8 billion, which makes up the majority of the Head Start's budgets. Things are a bit different in Canada. ABC Head Start is a non-profit, charitable organization. We are supported by all streams of government: municipal, provincial and federal - and also rely on community support to continue serving Edmonton's vulnerable children and families.
You can imagine then, what type of impact a government shut down would have on America's Head Start programs; programs had to close their doors. With this news, community stepped up in a big way. In particular, two philanthropists who did not want to see the children and families go without the support they so desperately needed. Laura & John Arnold donated $10 million to the National Head Start Association which was able to fund over $7000 spaces. As well, county agencies, Community Action Programs, and school districts pulled money together to ensure Head Start programs in their communities did not have to close their doors.
In the midst of all the negative news I truly believe there is always at least one good news story, this is the good news story of the government shutdown - the story of community coming together.
"How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world." - Anne Frank