January 26, 2011

OUR HEAD START LAUNCHES

First Five Years Fund Launches “Our Head Start” Campaign to Showcase the Lifelong Return on Early Learning Investments

Professionals Recount How Head Start Shaped Their Success

CHICAGO – The First Five Years Fund today launched “Our Head Start,” a campaign to educate policymakers, community leaders and the public about the critical role the Head Start program plays in shaping the lives of so many successful Americans.

“Our Head Start” will collect and share stories of adults around the county who, as children, attended the federally-funded program. The website, OurHeadStart.org, is a place for alumni to share personal stories about how Head Start contributed to their professional success today. These stories collectively underscore what research already tells us: investments in Head Start have a lifelong effect on education, health and the economy.

“Head Start is a fantastic place to not only give a kid an early childhood education, but to also start the basic foundation of economic success,” said Chuck Mills, entrepreneur, business banker, and a 1966-1967 Head Start alum. “I’m living proof of it. I wouldn’t be as successful as I am today if it wasn’t for the Head Start program.”

Mills’ video is the first of a series of stories that will be shared on OurHeadStart.org.

“The ‘Our Head Start’ campaign comes at a critical time—a new Congress is proposing spending cuts that will affect nearly 300,000 young children,” said Cornelia Grumman, Executive Director of the First Five Years Fund. “More than 75,000 children are at risk of losing their early learning services through Early Head Start and Head Start alone, and hundreds of thousands more will likely lose support through other critical programs, such as the Child Care and Development Block Grant. We hope these powerful stories will help lawmakers understand that investments in Head Start result in adults who make our nation stronger, better and more economically competitive.”

The First Five Years Fund invites Head Start alumni to share their own stories on OurHeadStart.org. Alumni may upload their own videos and written stories about how the Head Start program helped them become successful professionals.

First Five Years Fund

First Five Years Fund helps America achieve better results in education, health and economic productivity through investments in quality early childhood education programs for disadvantaged children. FFYF provides knowledge, data, and advocacy—persuading federal policymakers to make investments in the first five years of a child’s life that create greater returns for all.