By: Jessica L. Butler – Managing Editor/Writer
Middle KY Head Start is an organization that is underrated by the community, to say the least. This organization is a group of dedicated educators that make every effort to make sure that no child is forgotten.
Their mission is to inform everyone about early childhood development from educating a child to be “School Ready” when they enter Kindergarten, to the basic nutrition of a child.
This mission is spearheaded by Hazel Combs, the Early Childhood Council Coordinator in Frankfort. She is a “one woman show” with no staff, whose focus is to try to reach the population that is not being reached, because only 40% of the children entering Kindergarten are “School Ready”, which affects the workforce of the future and our community.
If a child is “School Ready”, it reduces the crime rate, less teen pregnancies, and less welfare dependency down the road, because they were “School Ready” from day 1.
This is a worthwhile investment, not just for the parent, grandparent, or guardian, but for the community as a whole, because for every $3.00 spent on a child in Head Start, there is a $17.70 return on each child, and tax money can be put to better use when there is less welfare dependency, and a strong work force. This is due to the education of a child that the community invested in.
In order to keep the drop out rate low in schools, not only is it necessary to educate the child early, but to make sure that children are given proper nutrition.
In a region that is considered the poorest in the nation, children do go hungry, but Middle KY Head Start is changing that.
They had noticed that some children were gorging at meal times. Also, the children were hoarding food on the last day of the week, and putting it in their backpacks, because there was no food in their homes to get them thru the weekend. Now, the children that need it are given snacks for the weekend. It is not a complete meal, but it does keep the hunger pains away.
Once again, that is a worthwhile investment, as well, because a child needs nourishment for brain development in order to be a positive contribution to their community. This cost is only $5-$7 to feed a child for a weekend.
As Thanksgiving approaches, remember our children are the future and the success of our community relies on them, but we must be the support that they need to grow up to be an upstanding citizen for this area. We need to be thankful for an organization that is willing to do this and remember them in our Thanksgiving blessings. It is vital for our culture, our genealogy, and an act of respect for all those that have come before us, who forged the region we live in and appreciate today.
Just as Margret Mead, the famous Cultural Anthropologist once said, “it takes the citizens to change the world.” Let’s be those citizens, support Middle KY Head Start, and together with parents, grandparents, and guardians, we can change the world one child at a time.