CPCD ("giving children a head start") celebrated 25 years of the Head Start program for early childhood education with horn blowing and colorful children's chairs.
The program took a hit during federal cuts in early 2013, but staff developed several programs to help reopen some of the shuttered Head Start classrooms. Now there are 1,899 students.
One event, the annual Community Giving Breakfast on Nov. 20, drew 700 supporters to the DoubleTree Hotel to hear CPCD's story and to pledge $90,000 in donations.
Children's chairs, painted by little ones in the preschool programs, were table centerpieces; more than 150 have been sold. Four speakers shared personal stories about sitting in "Head Start seats." Terrance McWilliams, a retired Army command sergeant major now with El Pomar Foundation, held a tiny chair in his giant hands and credited his educator mother for starting him in Head Start. He sat in one of those little chairs, he said to audience laughter. Today, he said, he cheers the addition of a Head Start program at Fort Carson, the second such facility on a military post.
Amber Besse, now a development officer at CPCD, and Jen Furda shared personal stories, bringing people to tears. Head Start mother Rachell Ruiz so appreciated her kids' Head Start programs that she is becoming an elementary school teacher.