As Early Head Start and Head Start director for SHORE UP! Inc., I am elated to recognize Head Start’s 55th anniversary of assisting more than 37 million low-income children across the US, and SHORE UP!’s 55 years of offering a multitude of services to children and their families who need assistance.
Since 1965, nationally, the Head Start program has acted as a lifeline for low-income families, providing the resources essential for bridging the gap in school readiness, as well as emotional, social, health, nutritional, educational and psychological needs. Even during times of crisis, Head Start has never faltered, continuing to provide services to families. For those reasons, the Office of Head Start and the National Head Start Association has established a legacy across the US, and for over five decades, Head Start and Early Head Start programs in the seven counties SHORE UP! serves continues to build upon that legacy.
Parents now have an opportunity to get their children involved in the agency’s programs and take advantage of a tradition that has set the foundation for several head start alum who have become teachers, lawyers, doctors and a myriad of other professionals. How?
SHORE UP! begins by examining the entire family’s current needs, administering programs which help individuals to support their children’s early education, provide the best parental guidance to their children as possible, and to gain economic security. The organization also partners with families to find effective methods in dealing with challenges, like single parenting, illiteracy, homelessness, substance abuse, child abuse and neglect, health and nutrition, domestic violence, budget, finances, energy assistance, housing counseling and more. Pregnant women are also provided the necessary resources for healthy prenatal outcomes through the Early Head Start program.
SHORE UP! implements a Whole Family approach, assisting the entire family in combatting intergenerational poverty, moving towards achieving self-sufficiency. This Whole Family approach has three priorities: families achieving self-sufficiency through education and work, building family wealth through financial literacy, and supporting children’s success through early learning.
This early learning begins in the Head Start and Early Head Start programs where children are prepared for success too. Toddlers ages zero to three receive social, emotional and cognitive development by attending the Early Head Start program. Children ages three to five are prepared for successful public school readiness, while staff work to meet their nutritional and developmental needs.
In Fiscal Year 2019, SHORE UP! served 761 children and their families enrolled in Head Start, along with 172 pupils and their families in the Early Head Start program. Included within our overall enrollment are disabled children, along with homeless children and more.
With Head Start, participants receive a comprehensive approach to achieve improvement with overall school readiness in preparation for the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment. After all, according to the National Head Start Association, “Head Start is the national commitment to give every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, an opportunity to succeed in school and in life.”
Please join me in celebrating the accomplishments of Head Start for over half a century, and enroll in SHORE UP!’s Head Start programs today to take full advantage of what we can do to drastically improve your family’s life. At SHORE UP!, we aid families in obtaining the opportunity to work, the opportunity to receive an education, and the opportunity to live a decent and dignified life.
For more information and to apply for SHORE UP!’s FREE Early Head Start and Head Start programs, visit www.shoreup.org, or call 410-749-1142, ext. 341.
COREY J. BOWEN, PH.D.
Early Head Start & Head Start