As we continue our journey around Jessamine County, let’s get to know more about their Head Start program!
Head Start is a program offered by the Blue Grass Community Action Partnership (BGCAP), which was incorporated in 1965 as a part of President Johnson’s Economic Opportunity Act to fight the war on poverty. BGCAP’s goal is to “enable low income, disadvantaged and disabled families and individuals of all ages and ethnic backgrounds to attain skills, knowledge and motivation to become fully self-sufficient.” BGCAP provides Head Start programs for a total of five counties in Central Kentucky: Anderson, Mercer/Boyle, Franklin, Woodford, and Jessamine.
Also founded in 1965, Head Start strives to “promote school readiness of young children from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development.” Most people see Head Start as a preschool, but it’s more than that. They work with the entire family to help achieve their goals and pull the family out of poverty. Each facility customizes their offerings to their community’s needs, whether it’s eating healthy on a budget, teaching financial literacy or dealing with addiction. They recognize children are only successful if the whole family unit is successful.
Before COVID-19, the total enrollment at all five centers was 303, and Jessamine county branch had 65 children enrolled. Head Start welcomes volunteers and encourages the parents to volunteer their time as well. At all five of their Head Start facilities last year, they had 593 volunteers work a total of 40,972 hours!
UWBG funding that is provided to Head Start helps sponsor their fight against childhood obesity, which is a prevalent problem. This is usually because parents are unaware how to cook healthy meals for their children. With United Way’s monetary assistance, Head Start got the parents together and held a tasting party, where the parents were able to try new food and were then encouraged to cook it on their own.
According to BGCAP Executive Director Troy Roberts, one of the most inspiring things about Jessamine County Head Start is its impact on the parents. Last year, staff worked with two Jessamine County Head Start parents to obtain their GED, while two more parents attended college. Some parents who started volunteering with the program went on to obtain their teaching degrees and are now part of the Head Start staff.
Facebook and Website Links!
Jessamine Head Start Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessaminecountyhs
Jessamine Head Start Website: http://www.bluegrasscommunityaction.org/bgcap_head_start.html
BGCAP Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BGCAP/
BGCAP Website: http://www.bluegrasscommunityaction.org/