Communities Nationwide Celebrate Head Start Awareness Month

As October comes to a close, Head Start Awareness Month, too, reaches its end. It has been an action-packed few weeks of celebrating, advocating, and sharing resources in the Head Start community. Let’s take a look at all we accomplished together this month!

Celebrations throughout the Country

Head Start programs across the country participated in Head Start Awareness Month with creative activities that engaged the whole community. From visits with members of Congress, to parades, and storytimes with elementary school principals, everyone got in on the fun of Head Start Awareness Month!

Here are a few highlights from Head Start visits made by members of Congress that helped to make this year’s Head Start Awareness Month so special:

Representative Denver Riggleman (R-VA) visited with 3–5 year olds at the STEP, Inc. Head Start in Rocky Mount, Virginia. The first-term congressman was welcomed by the class of preschoolers, and he even joined them on the floor for a reading of Dr. Seuss’s Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?

The Head Start of Casper, Wyoming, hosted a visit with Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), who participated in one class’s storytime. Following his visit, the Senator shared his appreciation for Head Start, tweeting, “Today, I had the opportunity to read a book at Casper Head Start. This organization is making a real difference for young children and their families.”

These visits, and many more hosted throughout the month, were a great way of spreading awareness of Head Start’s critical work directly with the decision makers whose support we need to continue reaching children and families.

NHSA’s Tools for Spreading Head Start Awareness

After all the effort put in this month, NHSA wants to make sure the message of Head Start’s mission and impact continues to spread beyond October. That’s why we shared tools all month long that were perfect for Head Start Awareness Month, and will continue to be great resources throughout the year.

In the first week of October, we released the digital version on the Head Start Language Playbook. This interactive, online tool can be used by anyone, anywhere, and on any device, maximizing its reach in helping the Head Start community have better, more effective conversations about our mission with all audiences.

NHSA knows it can be a daunting task to get members of Congress to visit Head Start programs in their communities, but it is important that the nation’s decision makers see the magic of Head Start firsthand. That’s why our second Head Start Awareness Month resource focused on tools for inviting and hosting members of Congress.

Next NHSA shared resources to aid in using the power of social media to reach new audiences with our message. The Head Start Social Media Marketing Guide and social media toolkit have best practices for building a social media presence from the ground up and creating engaging posts. NHSA got in on the social media action, too, with a TwitterChat with our friends at Moms Rising.

Finally, we shared a new toolkit for engaging with the media, another great way to spread Head Start’s message to wide-reaching audiences. NHSA’s Ashton Pellom and Head Start Parent Ambassador from Virginia Rima Alshawkani set a great example of doing just that with a Head Start Awareness Month interview on Good Morning Washington.

These exciting tools will continue to help us, the Head Start community, in spreading awareness all year long.

Highlighting Head Start Alumni

One of the best ways to spread awareness of Head Start’s impact is to share the success stories of Head Start’s alumni. This month, NHSA featured four Head Start alum who are doing amazing work in their fields, and we learned about how Head Start helped to propel them into success. At first glance, Harvard professor and author Dr. Anthony Abraham Jack, New Mexico Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales, CEO Cicely Simpson, and Superintendent Tyrone Olverson don’t appear to have much in common. But we learned that each one of them credits the comprehensive, community-based approach of Head Start for setting the foundation for their diverse educational and career journeys and their desires to give back.

We hope these stories, and those of Head Start alumni across the country, continue to inspire Head Start awareness efforts all year long.

Keep the Momentum!

With all of the new resources, inspiring stories, and local celebrations this month, we have a renewed understanding of why Head Start’s work is so important. And there’s more to do to keep the ball rolling!

Contribute to Dollar per Child so that NHSA can continue the push for Head Start’s advocacy goals. Dollar per Child funding enables NHSA to represent Head Start in Congress and the executive branch. By raising one dollar for each of the one million children enrolled in Head Start across the nation, we can build a unified Head Start voice and lift up the experiences of the many children, families, and communities of the Head Start community.

You can also continue your engagement by becoming an NHSA member. As a member, you’ll have access to additional resources and discounts on NHSA conferences and events, and you’ll be a part of Head Start’s strong, united voice. You don’t want to miss out on any opportunities to learn and grow with the Head Start community!

Thank you for participating in Head Start Awareness Month 2019 with great creativity, brilliant advocacy efforts, and a love of Head Start!

NHSA is a nonprofit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in life.