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What is your “Why”?? 👧🏽👶🏼👦🏽 See member quotes & videos below of why 👩🏼👶🏽👲🏼 we do our work. Happy Head Start Awareness Month!

This 35-second video clip just in from our IHSA Board Member Angelia Lee – we could not have said it better ourselves – thank you Angie!!!  

 Here is a beautiful example from Millie Young, HB Education Coord. (PACT West Central IL):   “I love Head Start because I have first-hand knowledge of how they help parents to succeed in their role. I am a thirty plus year employee for PACT for WCI! I started as a parent in the home-based option. I served three years on the Policy Council and then applied for a position as a Home-Based teacher. Head Start is ever growing and has helped me to grow also.  The Head Start philosophy on teaching children is the best! It is comprehensive and play-based, but best of all built on strong, positive relationships!” 

“I love Head Start for two reasons; what it means and what it gives. What it means is a Head Start for children like my own son, who reaped the benefits from the Head Start and Early Head Start experiences. What it gives is a culmination of undeniable variables of amazing and dedicated staff, mixed with comprehensive services to help a diverse group of children thrive and a voice for parents to partake in the program governance of their child. There are many programs out there that do great work for kids, but Head Start was and is mine!”   -Kyle Hubert (serving as IHSA Board Vice President, Parent Representative, Region V Board Parliamentarian and on NHSA Board) 

From our IHSA Board President Gene Howell (Riverbend Head Start & Family Services President /CEO) . . “I love Head Start because Head Start, you might say, has come full circle in my own personal life from work to home. My wife and I became foster parents years ago. As time has gone on we’ve had five children in our home, and adopted all five of them. As we reflect, we are mindful that four out of five of our children were discovered by a Head Start staff member in circumstances not fit for children, endangering their lives.  Head Start made every effort to work with their families to keep them intact and thriving.  Unfortunately, these situations proved too much for our interventions to overcome and a different outcome was ahead.  When I think about my children, their circumstances at birth and the circumstances that they were living in, I firmly believe that if a Head Start worker had not knocked on their door, my children may not be here today.  These were severe cases with very young children.  As a Head Start employee I was involved in service planning and strategies to work with their parents.  Little did we know that one day, as a licensed foster home, my wife and I would receive calls to care for them in our homes and today call them our children.”

“I believe Head Start is best at being a source of hope and support to families when perhaps no one else does. Head Start helps parents recognize their own skills, strengths and personal worth, which are really powerful tools for anyone to begin to recognize what they do well. Head Start saves lives and changes the futures and fortunes for so many children and young adults.  I love Head Start for all of these reasons but mostly because it represents a spirit of “the power of change,” never allowing a beginning to dictate where you finish!”

Take a minute (& a half) for this excellent video from Granite City North Staff with Riverbend Head Start & Family Services – send yours to

Get a IHSA Self-Care 🎁 Box Subscription going – choose your frequency – quarterly themes!

Celebrate your team, your circle, your community .. family, friends, staff (and yourself)! – so many reasons – so many people needing more than a pat on the back; express your appreciation.

Award Winners Announced at our 2021 💎 Prism of Possibilities Virtual Annual Conference

Meet our award winners – CONGRATULATIONS to them all!

These award winners were made known during our March 3rd Awards Presentation.


 Meet Courtney Parker, our 💎 PARENT of the Year!

Congratulations to Courtney / SIU Edwardsville Head Start


 Meet Daffney Glasco, our 💎 Support Staff of the Year Award Winner!

Congratulations to Daffney / SIU Carbondale Head Start



Award Winners Announced at our 2021 💎 Prism of Possibilities Virtual Annual Conference (cont’d)

CONGRATULATIONS 💎 to the Early Childhood Education Teams of EL VALOR!
This year’s recipient of the coveted Vanessa Rich Innovation & Leadership Program Award

 Meet Jennifer Feeney, our 💎 TEACHER of the Year!

Congratulations to Jennifer / RPC Early Childhood Education Center of Urbana.


 Meet Kathy Fudge-White, our 💎 Dr. MLK, Jr. Humanitarian Award Winner!

Congratulations to Kathy / Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet.
 Meet Rachael DeSpain, our 💎 ADMINISTRATOR of the Year!

Congratulations to Rachael / Tri-County Opportunities Council.
 Jessica Servin won our 💎 Mary Alice Buchanan Memorial Scholarship Award.
Congratulations to Jessica / The Children’s Center of Cicero-Berwyn
 Meet Constance Graska, our 💎 Leota Brown Memorial Scholarship Award Winner!

Congratulations to Connie / Metropolitan Family Services.






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