Horace Percy Axtell

Edward Black

My Name is Edward Black and I fit the definition of a Head Start Success Story.  I will Attempt to keep my story short, however; it isn't a short story.

My involvement with Head Start began when my oldest son who is now 26 was 4 years-old and my family was living in a homeless shelter in Idaho Falls.  At first we viewed Head Start as a way to cover a need for child care as we got back on our feet.  I have never believed in hand outs with out providing something in return.  Little did I know what giving back would bring to my family.

I started out by volunteering one day a week in the classroom, I was very technology inclined so I would bring the classroom computer in, this involvement moved to running for policy council, which moved to running for board of directors and IHSA Rep.  At the IHSA rep level I ran as Member At Large on executive board and the Vice Chair as a Parent rep. At this point I was volunteering 3 days a week and learning that I had a voice in my child's education and how important my voice also was for other children and families who feared sharing their voices.

A position opened up as a bus monitor and as the position didn't interfere with my full time job applied and started working in the program.  Moving from policy council and board of directors and into staff development gave me the opportunity to become staff development rep to IHSA and Staff Development rep o IHSA Board where I served as Vice Chair, Then Chair and also Staff Rep to Region X Association.

While working for Eastern Idaho Head Start I moved from Bus Monitor to Class Room Assistant, To Family Advocate, to Lead Teacher, To ECE Assistant, Nutrition Coordinator and finally Operations Manager with responsibility for ERSA, USDA, Facilities Management, Expansion, Center Management Supervision, Nutrition Supervision, Transportation, Expansion, TANF funding, Technology, Contract Management, Policy Council liaison and community involvement.  Basically I went from an uneducated, silent parent who felt they had no voice or place in the world to someone who had purpose.

Some of my major accomplishments during my Head Start tenure:

First program in the State if Idaho to be awarded Certificate of Merit and Perfect Audit by USDA

accomplishment of coordinating TANF funds for Head Start slots


After leaving Head Start I have continued my education and have received the following degrees and certifications.

Ethical Hacker SANS
Associates of Science General Studies
Project Management Professional Certification Bachelors of Science Business Administration - Information Technology Masters of Business Administration - Project Management Master of Science Project Management

Jordan Wilson, alumni of WICAP Head Start

This summer (2015) marks the 50th anniversary of Head Start, a federal program designed to break the cycle of poverty by ensuring every child, regardless of zip code, has access to a quality early childhood education. Head Start changed my life, it changed my family’s life, and it gave our entire community hope for a better future.

I was raised by a single mother who struggled to make ends meet as she balanced the demands of putting food on the table and raising me, a toddler at the time, and my older sister. As soon as I walked through the doors of Head Start, I immediately benefited by being with other children, many with whom I would go on to graduate high school with. I was introduced to a structured environment that helped me become more independent and sparked an excitement for learning.

I went on to graduate high school and recently finished my degree in Mathematics from Boise State University. I am currently working at the Discovery Center of Idaho and am passionate about pursuing a career in education.

So, happy birthday, Head Start and thank you for opening a window of learning and success.

William Strength – Head Start Parent Alumni, Pocatello/Chubbuck Head Start

Sometimes lessons come from the most unexpected places. It’s natural to associate early learning programs with the growth and development of children, but what about parents? That is my story.

My young life was spent between two impoverished homes, rife with addiction. Between my mother’s gambling habit and my father’s violent drug addiction, little regard was given to my education as a child. I dropped out of school in 10th grade and began to get into trouble myself. I was in and out of jail and couldn’t retain a job – much less grow a career. But after meeting my wife and having two daughters of my own, I realized I wanted something better for them. Head Start, an early childhood education program serving 60 Idaho communities, gave me the opportunity I needed to change the path I was on and help create the best future possible for my daughters.

Through Head Start, I learned that ages 0 to 5 are the most developmentally important years of a child’s life. Enormous linguistic, conceptual, social, emotional and motor competence skills are developed during this time. I also learned that children who go through quality early learning programs, like Head Start, are less likely to drop out of high school, be retained a grade or end up in a juvenile correction system. Early exposure to chronic stress, abuse or neglect can harm a child’s development and ability to learn. Not only does this expand the drastic difference in grades, comprehension and test scores, but it also translates into a widening range of income levels for Idaho.