Saturday, January 18, 2020
Jan. 18, 2020

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Letter: Happy birthday, Head Start

The Columbian
Published:

This Father’s Day, as I reflect on life’s challenges and the experiences that have made me the parent I am today, I want to salute Head Start’s 50th anniversary.

In those years, Head Start has opened windows of opportunity for 32 million at-risk children and their families by providing comprehensive, quality early-childhood education to prepare children for success, both in school and in life.

As a proud Head Start graduate, I know this to be true. My mom credits Orchards Head Start program with starting me on my upward trajectory, which enabled me to be successful academically, professionally and at home. From health screenings to important cognitive and social development support, Head Start ensured I entered kindergarten ready to succeed. As my mom puts it, Head Start turned out to be the greatest break in our lives.

From the moment I enrolled, Head Start brought my mother into the fold, encouraging her to volunteer in the classroom, and giving her the tools and resources she needed to stay engaged throughout my academic career. With this early “head start” and my mother’s unwavering support, I went on to excel throughout school and today as president of the greater Portland market at Pacific Continental Bank.

My mother’s steadfast support has inspired me not only in my career, but in my greatest achievement of all: raising my wonderful children.

So, as we celebrate fathers across the country, happy birthday Head Start and thank you for helping me be the best father I can be.

Bob Harding

Portland

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