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Opening Doors for Children & Families

The Lougheed Legacy

Recently, Alberta lost a very impactful leader. Peter Lougheed led the Progressive Conservative Party to victory in 1971, ending the 36 year reign of the Social Credit Party. Lougheed became one of the most influential leaders in Alberta's history with legacies such as The Heritage Trust Fund and the development of oil and gas in this province. I had the great fortune of sitting with one of Edmonton's greatest volunteers at a luncheon yesterday. He spoke about work he had done with Mr. Lougheed. He described him as a compassionate but tough leader who everyone admired. He said with a smile that when the "white phone" rang, you answered.

I reflect on the impact that just the shift of political parties had on Alberta's future. Peter Lougheed started the Progressive Conservative movement. It takes one amazing leader with a lot of courage to start a movement. They must articulate their vision, share it and not be afraid to do something that no one else has done. But unless you have followers your movement does not begin.

This TED video has shifted my thinking about Leadership...

Clearly Mr. Lougheed realized leadership was overglorified and the first follower was underestimated. In my conversation with Edmonton's greatest volunteer he spoke to the fact that Mr. Lougheed never seen himself as this amazing leader people spoke of. He truly knew the value of nurturing his first followers as equals and recognized it was not about him, it was about the movement.

ABC Head Start is a non-profit, charitable organization. As such we are governed by a Board of Directors. Our Board is made up of various community members who provide us with their leadership and expertise and are invested in making our community a better place. They share and inspire a vision for our agency. For the first time in ABC Head Start history, a past ABC Head Start student will become a member of our Board of Directors. He has become a Chartered Accountant and now wants to volunteer to serve on our board to share his vision of providing Early Learning programs to low-income families just as we did for his family 20 years ago.

Twenty-seven years ago ABC Head Start's lone nut and founder, Aleda Patterson had a vision. She wanted all children to have access to Early Learning programs, despite the economic status they were born into. She created ABC Head Start. The program served 10 children and employed 4 (very part-time) employees. Twenty-seven years later the program serves over 400 families every year and employees over 100 individuals. It has come full circle having a former student become a Board member. It demonstrates the movement Aldea created.

ABC Head Start continues to want to share the vision of our agency with the community. To be the leader of Early Learning in Edmonton. To keep the movement going we require strong community involvement. In fact it is a main pillar in ABC Head Start's vision. The opportunities to become involved range from becoming a Board member to a classroom volunteer. To become a part of the ABC Head Start movement email our Community Coordinator Ann Babb at annb@abcheadstart.org.

Every dollar matters. By supporting ABC Head Start you will give children the skills they need to be successful in their educational journey and support families to transition out of poverty, become healthy and self-reliant. Donate to ABC Head Start today and start making a difference in the lives of children, families and our communities.