How do you you become a doctor? For some, like Latifa Sage Silski, you attend Head Start!
"I remember only having peas and carrots to eat,” Latifa said, recalling her time before Head Start. “We would move from place to place. Then finally, one day we were staying at my dad’s friend’s house and there was a Head Start program nearby. My mom enrolled me.”
Shortly after her time at Head Start, Latifa moved out of the country to live with family in Pakistan. But it is her time in Head Start that she credits with preparing her for successfully completing high school and graduating from the University of Michigan.
"People who say that Head Start is ineffective have no idea what it means to be poor," Latifa said. Now a medical doctor in Ohio, Latifa knows that kids who start school earlier do better. "Head Start provides security and the basic essentials of life. I don’t know if I would be where I am today if it wasn’t for Head Start - it gave my mother peace of mind to know that I was being fed."
This holistic approach, as Latifa points out, continues to be a key pillar of Head Start's philosophy and services.
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!