Head Start gets a new start

In these trying times, when much of the news locally, nationally and from around the world is about greed, mismanagement and the suffering of so many people, there is still a lot of good news out there — and a local community program would like to share its good news story.

 The Pagosa Springs Head Start/Early Childhood Center is an early learning preschool and child care center that enrolls 3- and 4-year-old children.  The program started in Pagosa Springs in 1965 as a summer program at the Catholic Church Parish Hall.

 Through the generosity of Bob and Mary Hart of Hart Construction Corporation, and the attendees and donors of their annual Christmas pie auction, the Head Start/Early Childhood Center will be the fortunate recipient of five new computers and the “fixings” to upgrade another. 

Last year, Hart donated approximately $4,000 to the center for computer systems designed specifically to help the children practice school readiness skills on an individualized basis prior to kindergarten.  This time, it’s the turn of the teachers, support staff and administration to benefit from the kindness of many in our community.

 Perry Schjolin, a Data Protection Specialist and owner of PC Servant in Pagosa Springs, generously contributed many hours of his valuable time and expertise to research the needs at the center.  Combining his knowledge of the newest software and networking capabilities and his genuine desire to assist the staff, he was able to determine all the necessary components — and everything should be up and running very soon, with training of the staff to follow.

 First and foremost, it was the desire of the dedicated staff to streamline work flow, increase productivity, and save that very valuable element in any environment — time — in order to continue fine-tuning the management of this well-established and valuable community resource. 

Speaking of the dedicated staff — the director of the center is celebrating her 36th anniversary at the job this year, and the program support assistant and eight teachers have a combined 160 years on staff!  In this day and age, when the average on-the-job time is two and a half years, that shows the commitment and enthusiasm of the personnel to meet the needs of the children, parents, and community they serve.

 Mardel Gallegos, director of the center, voiced the sincere appreciation of the entire staff when she said, “We are so grateful for everything that Perry, Bob and Mary, and their generous donors, have done for the center; with these new computers and networking systems the staff will be able to more effectively prepare and deliver lessons, maintain records and communicate with other Head Start Centers in our tri-county region.   We can never thank them enough.”

 Stayed tuned for more news and learn how you can help advance the goals of the Pagosa Springs Head Start/Early Childhood Center.  It takes a community ...