National Head Start Association Celebrates "Window of Opportunity" Champions; Premiers "One Window of Opportunity" Animated Video

Oct 14, 2011, 11:21 ET from National Head Start Association

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of Head Start Awareness month, Head Start directors and early childhood professionals from across the country gathered at the Corcoran Gallery of Art to honor three exceptional Head Start champions and preview an original, two-minute animated video narrated by Maria Shriver.  

The evening centered on the enormous and burgeoning need for Head Start programs as more Americans slip into poverty while battling devastating unemployment. With 46 million people living below the poverty line, including one in four children under age six, Head Start is a lifeline to almost one million poor and at-risk children each year. Head Start currently is only able to serve less than 50 percent of eligible children, with only five to six percent of children needing Early Head Start able to access programs.

"Recent census data make it abundantly clear how dire the situation is for families struggling to provide for their children," said NHSA executive director Yasmina Vinci. "For five decades, Head Start has supported the American Dream by providing a window of opportunity for our most vulnerable children and placing them squarely on a path to lifelong success."  

As part of a national effort to underscore the importance of investing in early childhood education, NHSA previewed "One Window of Opportunity," an original, two-minute animated video, capturing a child's perspective of the vast possibilities Head Start offers America's youngest minds. Produced by creative agency SS&K and narrated by Maria Shriver, the animated video spotlights the critical window of opportunity in the first five years of life, during which essential cognitive, social and emotional development occurs.

"My father Sargent Shriver understood with great clarity the importance of this window of opportunity and the tremendous value of Head Start, and he fought to get the program off the ground and to keep it alive," said Maria Shriver. "I am proud to join this new fight to ensure that our country's most vulnerable children don't lose their precious window of opportunity."

As part of the national effort to highlight the lifelong value of Head Start, NHSA is soliciting videos from across the country, asking participants to share the meaning of the Head Start window of opportunity.

SOURCE National Head Start Association