Head Start doubles capacity

Published 1:29 am Saturday, December 19, 2020

By HUNTER CLOUD

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — Red and blue balloons floated outside of the Adams, Jeferson, Franklin and Claiborne Community Action Agency building at 1038 N Union St. on Monday.

Inside, community leaders greeted children who arrived for the Early Head Start and Head Start programs on their first day of expansion from 40 kids to 80 kids.

The Head Start program provides comprehensive education, nutrition, mental health and health services to children aged 0 to five years old.

A plan for expansion had not been put into action until this year. Head Start and Early Head Start director Carrie Ford Campbell credits a new administration with the change.

“Previous management tried to do it but for some reason they couldn’t get it done,” Campbell said. “This administration looked back at it and said let’s go for it, lets try it. Took a chance at it and they made it happen.”

Campbell said the program’s goal is for no child to be left behind. She noticed parents on Monday morning dropping off a child who was already at the center, and then a second child who had not been able to attend until the expansion of the program.

AJFC CEO Carmen Drake said parents pay no fees to get their children into the Head Start program. Drake said the group ionvests a lot of money in the childing with funding from the federal government that allows for robust projects.

Adams County District 3 Board of Supervisors member Angela G. Hutchins said in here years she worked to get funds appropriated to the AJFC by the board, and she will continue to do so moving forward.

Hutchins along with Adams County Sheriff Travis Patten said the services Head Start provides allow children to learn and parents to work.

Patten said he loves the holistic approach Head Start gives children by educating and caring for them. His own children attended Head Start.

“There is no way these parents could afford to get some of these services that are provided to them that are going anywhere else,” Patten said, adding the community action agency is working to improve communities. “They are making sure those gaps that are within the communities are closed.”

The public can make donations to the Head Start and Early Head Start programs by contacting the office at 601-442-8681.