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Marianne Flanagan's picture

As an assistant Head Start teacher, I see the impact of the program every day.

Our program in Chicago has children who would continue to have rotting teeth and no childhood immunizations without the support and requirements of the program. Children who are non-communicative, developmentally delayed, ADHD with parents who have the same disorder start smiling, talking nonstop and making up for lost time. An ELL child who has never played with other children stops his aggressive behavior and starts talking, laughing and playing. Children who have had horrific things happen to them and have been placed in foster care have the support they need while getting a fresh start in their young lives. Children who have moved from rat- and roach-infested apartments to apartments infested with only roaches.

These are some of the children of Head Start. Without the support of Head Start, these children do not stand a chance. Their parents are minimum wage earners who cannot afford preschool. Our center in a Chicago suburb has a waiting list of over 100 families. Head Start is one of the best preschool programs in the nation, and the investment in this country's future is worth every penny.

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