A Success Story

“Although my path has taken me in different directions, I am so pleased that I found my way back to Head Start.” — Leslie Jenkins, program specialist, Seattle, WA

In the spring of 1965, I was in a teenage group at the Hollywood Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles, CA. We were asked if we wanted to be volunteers for a new program for nursery school-age children called Head Start to help “disadvantaged, low-income children get a head start in school.”

I volunteered and was sent out for three weekends of training to prepare for my summer work, supervising children on the playground, handing out abundant foods, first-aid practices, etc.In the summer, I went to geometry and French in the mornings at my high school, and then went in the afternoon to the Head Start program at the Jewish Community Center.When they got low on volunteers, they asked me to recruit my friends from high school.Then they called me the volunteer coordinator!

Even though it has been 50 years, I can still remember the end-of-summer celebration at the Biltmore Hotel, wearing my “volunteer coordinator” ribbon proudly. Although my path has taken me in different directions, I am so pleased that I found my way back to Head Start. I have served as a program specialist in the Region X Seattle office at the Office of Head Start since 1993.

In comparison to the things going on at the time, mine was a tiny role, but I can say I was there in the beginning!

Last Updated: March 22, 2017