In honor of the 50th anniversary of Head Start,Tri-Town and South County Community Action Agencies this week released a video with reflections from CEO Joseph R. DeSantis and the directors of each agency’s program.
“We’ve managed Head Start through numerous Presidents, various relocations, and, at one point, the threat of closure at South County Community Action,” DeSantis explains in the video, adding that after the reorganization of its management in 2000, the South County Head Start has transitioned “from a failing operation” to being “acknowledged as a high-performing program.”
Since its official start with the signing of the original Head Start legislation by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965, Head Start has grown into a national preschool program reaching nearly 1 million children,with about 25 percent of those enrolled in Early Head Start, aimed at ages birth to 3, according to the National Head Start Association.
In Rhode Island, Tri-Town and South County educate more than 300 children at eight sites, including about 60 in Early Head Start, and also survey parents to identify other support that the agencies can provide,DeSantis explained.
“Through the Head Start enrollment process, Tri-Town and South County staffers have addressed homelessness, nutrition, employment and training, parent support, and utility payment needs that our clients have,” DeSantis said in a statement. “Our Head Start offices are often the first point of contact for families with young children, giving us the opportunity to bring the efforts of our agencies to bear in solving the issues that these families face, ensuring that their households are more stable and further improving our students’ chance for success in the classroom.”Both programs are currently enrolling new students. Contact South County Head Start at (401) 789-3016 ext. 2307.