Community partners from throughout the parish met at the Head Start Central Office, located at 800 North Western Ave. in Crowley, in the conference room for a luncheon to hear from a guest speaker, Kahree Wahid, director of La. State Collaboration Office–Department of Children/Family Services, about the importance now of partnerships and the head start program, and to fellowship and learn more about how Acadia Parish’s head start program can continue to succeed.
With the theme “Head Start: Leading the Way for Children, Families and Communities,” the roughly 30 people in attendance introduced themselves and discussed the purposes of their partnerships with the parish’s head start program.
Simply put, the partnerships created are to serve Acadia Parish, its communities and its people. The common goal is to work for the betterment of Acadia Parish, its community and its people.
When it was Wahid’s turn to speak, he focused on how important head start has become, particularly in the state now that it has opened the door for students under the age of five and engaging children at an early age. He also talked about partnerships have to start at an early age in head start.
“In head start, we address things other than education,” he said. “Certainly things like reading and math are important, but there are other needs we address that help children.”
Wahid talked about how head start programs help diagnose and catch learning disabilities and so on, which help the student in the long run.
He then turned to partnerships, focusing on the most important one of all, the partnership between teacher and parent(s) at an early age.
“It all starts at home and the power a parent yields, particularly at that early age, cannot be matched,” said Wahid.
But, partnerships outside of just child-parent-teacher also are important, as Wahid stated, pointing to the importance of partnerships in the medical community to make sure a child is healthy and so on.
“Partnerships in education are key,” he said.
“We all want an equal opportunity for all Louisianans to succeed, and it starts with an education. And it all takes place between the ages of zero and eight for kids.”
Wahid pointed out how most mapping for the child’s life occurs between those ages, making the job of head start program all that more important.
He finished his time with a quote, “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see,” and stated that head start is a big part of that message, as it falls in that zero to eight age range.
“Don’t think for a day that what you do isn’t important,” said Wahid.
Currently the following are community partners with the Acadia Parish School Board Head Start Program, Acadia Cab Company, Acadia Parish Health Unit, Acadia Parish Special Populations, ASSIST Agency, DCFS Child Support Enforcement, DHH Medicaid Office, LSU-E School of Nursing, Office of Child Welfare, Office of Economic Stability, Piacard Center for Child Development, Region IV Office of Behavioral Health, SWLA Center for Health Services, Truant Office, United Way and Walmart.
Head Start Awareness Month activities continue throughout the month. Ross Head Start’s next big activity occurs this morning (Friday) with its parade in front of and around the school.