In honor of Head Start’s 50th Anniversary and Head Start Awareness Month, the National Head Start Association will be highlighting soon-to-be Head Start graduates and Head Start alumni each day 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.
Keisha Reaves was first introduced to St. Jerome’s Head Start center in 2002 when her cousin attended Head Start. Immediately, Keisha knew she had found a home and began to work for the Head Start Center. In 2009, Keisha gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Kimora Reaves.
When Kimora was old enough, her mother enrolled her in a local daycare center. Like some daycare centers in Baltimore, the one Kimora attended was not high-quality. Before Head Start Kimora would spend her days sitting in a room and unengaged. As a result of her environment, Kimora began to act out and eventually was diagnosed with a behavioral disorder.
Following this diagnosis, Kimora’s mother enrolled her in the Head Start program where she worked. It was at Head Start that Kimora learned her colors, numbers, how to write her name and other skills that prepared her for Kindergarten. With the help of Head Start, Kimora’s behavioral issues started to fade and today she is at the top of her class at James McHenry Elementary School. Next year, Kimora’s mother hopes to enroll her in the local charter school where she will undoubtedly excel in her studies and achieve her dreams of becoming a doctor.