Head Start is a government-funded preschool program that helps low income children who might not be able to afford the cost of preschool. The program prepares children to enter kindergarten with emotional readiness, emotional competence, the ability to approach their own learning, the ability to communicate with their peers and the adults around them, and an understanding of general, age-appropriate knowledge.
The Brighton campus collected coats for Head Start during the month of November. Brighton’s Financial Aid Student Services Representative, Lynette Arpi, spearheaded this drive. Head Start teacher, Michelle Harmon, shared with Lynette that many students in her class did not have enough warm outerwear for the winter. Lynette knew the Brighton campus was willing to help. Students, faculty and staff collected a large bag and box of coats, hats, mittens, and scarves to help keep the children warm. Harmon came to campus to pick up the donations for her classroom.
Campus director, Susan Mall, stated, “It’s nice to do a drive for someone who is actually saying they have a need. It’s also special to have a personal connection with someone like Harmon, who really needs it for her classroom. We are a fairly small school and we can’t collect thousands of coats, but we can help one classroom of students and really make a difference. Everyone was able to participate on some level. They didn’t have to go out and buy anything. If they had something they could pass down, they did, and it was something that made them feel good inside.”
There are thousands of Head Start classrooms across the country. Aside from striving to provide high quality preschool education to low income families, the program also provides services to the entire family. They offer parenting workshops for how to set a routine in the home and for how to handle finances and budgeting. Harmon is part of the program called Capital Area Community Services Head Start. “One of the problems we face every winter is not having enough outerwear for all of our students to wear when we go outside. It’s difficult for parents to make the choice between paying the gas bills and getting your kids the stuff they need to go outside,” said Harmon.
The outerwear will be kept in the classroom cupboard for the children to use. It will also be available for them to use in the upcoming years. She believes this drive made a huge impact on the kids. With these donations, we will be able to go outside more often, which I think is really important for the kids, especially if they’re not doing that at home. It helps their bodies to develop, it helps them learn, and it’s good for them all-around,” said Harmon.
The Brighton campus was grateful they had the opportunity to do this drive and give back to the community, especially during this time of the year. Likewise, Harmon and her Head Start classroom will get much use out of the outerwear that was donated, both this season and in the years to come.
For more information on Head Start, visit cacsheadstart.org.