Inviting your members of Congress to visit your Head Start center is one of the most important ways to show them how Head Start is unique, innovative, and high-quality. It also helps you build relationships with elected officials by having a face-to-face encounter and makes your Head Start program something they will remember. In addition, you will be educating them about the comprehensive, two-generational and community-based nature of Head Start, which is paramount to our success and impact. With your participation, every member of the 115th Congress will know that Head Start makes a difference in all of America’s communities.
The best time to invite your members of Congress to visit is when they are on recess and back home in their states and districts. This fall is the perfect opportunity to invite them to meet the children in their own community who attend Head Start, their parents, and the educators and staff who serve them! While your elected official is on site you can take him or her on a tour of the facility, have them read to the children, and hear from community partners about Head Start in the community.
Step 1: Find out who your members of Congress are by entering in your zip code or state here.
Step 2: Download and fill in this invitation letter template with your program's specific details and send it to your three members of Congress via email (2 senators and 1 representative). You should email it to the scheduler in both their DC and local office. To find your member's scheduler simply call the Washington DC office line listed on their website (usually at the bottom of the page) and ask for the name, number and email of the scheduler. You can do the same for their local office.
Step 3: Review this suggested program for the visit to learn more about what activities you can plan when your elected officials are on site.
Step 4: A few days before your visit, use this press advisory template to invite your local newspaper and TV stations to cover this special occasion. Be sure to personalize this advisory to ensure good coverage for both your program and your member of Congress!
Step 5: Once you have a visit set up, be sure to email Kim Cooper (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Step 6: When your visit is over, don't forget to follow up and thank your member of Congress and all who accompanied him or her. You can post your pictures from the visit on social media and tag your members of Congress to thank them. Then make sure to personalize this thank you letter template and send it to him or her the week after the visit. Or, come up with your own creative way to say thank you from the children and parents in your center. Remember, staying in touch and updating your new congressional allies about what you are doing in the community is extremely important.
This year our goal is to have every member of Congress in the 115th Congress know at least one Head Start center that he or she represents in Washington. Once you have had a successful visit, let us know and we will add you to the Advocacy All Star map below. If you are missing and already had a visit, please email Kim Cooper (kcooper@nhsa,org) to make sure your visit is recognized on the map.