What a great week in our nation’s Capital. In the first official week of autumn, California sent a record number of 80 people to NHSA’s Fall Leadership Institute. There was a buzz of energy with so many states gathered together. The opening keynote by Eric Motley, executive vice president at the Aspen Institute, was inspiring. Workshop general session content was focused on key issues facing our Head Start world, including enrollment, workforce, trauma informed care and immigration.

On Wednesday, Sept. 25, hundreds of our Head Start community gathered on the Capitol lawn for a rally. It was powerful to see so many colleagues, advocates and parents from across the country come together as one voice to support our nation’s most at-risk children. This year was particularly fun because Head Start California was recognized for its great success in submitting 1,400 letters to our state senators. 1,400 letters! Only one state produced more: Mississippi. To celebrate this achievement, we were given the coveted NHSA Paper Plate Award.

After the rally, our team of 80 California advocates visited the offices of over half our congressional delegation. We also were able to visit the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senators Feinstein and Harris.

California team rallying on the Capitol lawn, Sept. 25, 2019.

Wassy Tesfa and her team from Pacific Clinics with Ricardo Rivera from Baldwin Park USD visiting Congresswoman Grace Napolitano.

Head Start California board president Stacey Scarborough and executive director Christopher Maricle accepting the NHSA Paper Plate Award.

Left to right: Ricardo Rivera, Stacey Scarborough, Christopher Maricle