WASHINGTON, DC – The National Head Start Association recognized eight U.S. Senators today for their continued support of Head Start with the PROMISE (Protecting Our Most Important Students Early) Award. Awardee Senator Shelley Moore Capito (WV), along with Head Start allies Senator John Boozman (AR) and Senator Jeff Merkley (OR), addressed leaders of the Head Start community during the annual Head Start on the Hill Breakfast, which kicked off a day of meetings with members of Congress and their staff.
“Head Start is in every community across the nation helping vulnerable children and families succeed, which is why we have such widespread support among members of Congress of all political stripes,” NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci said. “We are grateful for our champions in Congress, and thank them for keeping the commitment to Head Start in both their words and their deeds.”
NHSA awarded the 2018 PROMISE Award to Senators Tammy Baldwin (WI), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), Maggie Hassan (NH), Joe Manchin (WV), Rob Portman (OH), Marco Rubio (FL), Tim Scott (SC), and Jon Tester (MT).
“Head Start provides children across the nation with the promise of a bright future,” Senator Capito said. “Early childhood education plays a key role in emotional and cognitive development, and Head Start programs throughout the country contribute to this development by providing critical services. I’ve seen what this program can mean for children and families in my home state of West Virginia, and as a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to advocate for Head Start so we can keep building bright and happy futures for America’s children.”
Senator Boozman also told the Head Start leaders at the breakfast, “The great thing is, because of your good work, because of your efforts, we have a good story to tell. You’re changing people’s lives.”
Senator Merkley talked about the Head Start advantage, saying, “I’ve seen children in Head Start programs and the incredible difference it makes. That nurturing at that critical point in their lives is so critical to their futures. We see the results in study after study, about how the cycle of poverty can be broken.”
Today’s Head Start on the Hill events are part of NHSA’s 2018 Winter Leadership Institute, which nearly 450 Head Start leaders attended to plan for the future of the comprehensive early childhood education program. Leaders of the Head Start community from across the nation convene in Washington, D.C., for four days of informative sessions, innovative panels, and results-oriented workshops.
The focus of the 2018 Winter Leadership Institute is “Having the Difficult Conversations” about the challenges the Head Start community across the nation is facing. Speakers, sessions, and discussions are dedicated to issues of concern, such as developing and retaining a qualified workforce and coping with the effects of the opioid epidemic on the families and children Head Start serves.