Dear Head Start colleague:

May 18, 1965 was a turning point in the history of the United States.

It was a sunny, 70 degree Tuesday in the Rose Garden of the White House. President Lyndon Johnson announced Project Head Start and gave Sargent Shriver the go-ahead to enroll 100,000 children in the first Head Start programs.

No one really understood just how powerful the need for Head Start would be. By June, 1965, there were 2,700 Head Start programs and by the end of the summer, 560,000 Head Start children had been enrolled!

In the fifty years since, Head Start has given more than 31 million children an opportunity for success in school and in life. That is a remarkable national achievement, in which every member of the Head Start community should take pride.

We at the National Head Start Association are proud of the countless achievements and , innovations made by volunteers, parents, teachers, staff, and directors in the 1,600 Head Start programs, and very proud of the accomplishments of the 31 million alumni who passed through your doors! .

The Head Start community has earned the opportunity to pause, recognize our achievements and celebrate our heroes. And that’s just what we will do over the next year!

From a rally and celebration on Capitol Hill in Washington, to a Gala celebration at the National Head Start Conference in March, and a Rose Garden Ceremony in May, NHSA will keep the celebration going all year! Each month there will be events and activities related to the 50th that everyone in the Head Start Community can enjoy.

We will distribute this newsletter every month during the celebration to tell you about what we’ve planned and what others are doing. Please distribute it to everyone you know and encourage them to go to to subscribe to future issues. If you are planning an event, let us know so we can put them in upcoming newsletters!

I hope you are as excited about Head Start’s anniversary as I am. I look forward to seeing you at many of the events. The tireless passion and dedication for giving our most vulnerable children an opportunity for success has brought about an outstanding fifty years and will bring another fifty!


Yasmina Vinci
Executive Director,
National Head Start Association