As a young boy, growing up in Jonesboro, Arkansas, Brandon Walker participated in a Head Start program that his mother was determined to seek out and utilize. Head Start was where he made his first friend and where he felt safe. Remembering his time there, Brandon said, "We were out in the playground – we were in the sand lot building castles, and a little boy poured sand over my head. I cried and told the teacher – my earliest memory at Head Start is of a grownup defending me, coming to my rescue."
Now he is giving back to the very community that impacted him. His first grade teacher - Mrs. Clarke - was a member of a church he worked in and as he got older he ended up pastoring her. Today Reverend Walker is a member of Shepherding the Next Generation - a national group of pastors and ministry leaders committed to speaking out on behalf of children at risk and advocating for quality early childhood education.
Learn more about Reverend Brandon Walker and his child advocacy work in a Tri-State Defender's article featuring him.
In honor of Head Start’s 50th Anniversary and Head Start Awareness Month, the National Head Start Association will be highlighting Head Start alumni each weekday in October. We will begin the month with Head Start’s youngest learners and conclude the celebration with the Head Start Class of 1965. As the month progresses, these alumni stories will exemplify the short-term and long-term benefits Head Start has provided for our nation’s most vulnerable children and families for the past 50 years.
Are you or anyone you know a Head Start alum? Share this story and sign up at go.nhsa.org/alumni!