“I am the oldest of three and my parents immigrated to the United States,” Eleazar Gutierrez said. “I was very attached to my parents, so I cried my whole first month of Head Start.” Of course, crying isn’t the only memory Eleazar Gutierrez has from his Head Start experience in Arvin, CA. “My first few words in English were at a Head Start center. Having Head Start’s support helped me with that accomplishment.”
This past spring, Eleazar became the first member of his family to graduate from college and today he is interning in Washington, D.C! Recounting Head Start’s impact on his life, Eleazar said, “There are people waking up at 5 a.m. in my neighborhood, in a trailer park, and going to pick grapes. And I am here. I am so grateful.”
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!