WASHINGTON, DC, May 3 – The National Head Start Association has launched a two-year grassroots-driven initiative to unite and strengthen the Head Start community through a common language that best communicates the mission and value of the nation’s largest early childhood development program.
The project, which will also highlight the living achievements of Head Start practitioners and programs, is being funded through a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich.
“Head Start is most effective when our community is united, and this project brings us together to establish a common narrative that guides how we understand our shared mission and how we talk about it,” National Head Start Association Executive Director Yasmina Vinci said. “Through interviews, surveys, and focus groups with members of the Head Start community, NHSA is engaging a diversity of voices in this grassroots-driven initiative to strengthen our commitment.”
NHSA launched the project, “Staying Strong, Standing United: Strengthening Every Head Start Community,” at the association’s 45th Annual National Head Start Conference last week in Anaheim, Cal. In three interactive language focus groups held during the conference, NHSA listened to feedback from Head Start practitioners in response to a range of messages framing Head Start’s mission—who we are, what we do, and why that’s important—to determine what language resonated the most. The messages were developed after NHSA conducted one-on-one interviews with leading voices in the Head Start community.
Watch this video to hear about the experience from focus group participants.
Next, NHSA will weave together the most universally compelling language into a common narrative and develop communications tools that articulate it. The tools will also highlight Head Start programs that currently exemplify how this mission impacts children, families, and communities. By May 2019, NHSA will begin sharing these new communications tools with Head Start’s 1,600 grantees and 200,000 practitioners as part of a nationwide campaign to increase public understanding of Head Start’s effectiveness in driving successful outcomes for America’s most vulnerable children and families.
Vinci continued, “Head Start is grateful to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for their generous support of our efforts to better articulate the unique strengths of the nation’s most innovative early childhood development program. We share the common belief that every child deserves the chance to succeed, and we welcome their partnership in this mission.”
The National Head Start Association is a not-for-profit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in school and in life. The opportunities offered by Head Start lead to healthier, empowered children and families, and stronger, more vibrant communities. NHSA is the voice for more than 1 million children, 200,000 staff and 1,600 Head Start grantees in the United States. Visit www.nhsa.org and follow @NatlHeadStart for more information.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.