**Click Here for a Photo from the Award Ceremony**
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today received the “2020 Head Start Pledge Award” from the National Head Start Association for demonstrating a commitment to fulfilling the Head Start pledge to serve children and families in Central Virginia and across the country.
According to the National Head Start Association, Spanberger received the award for quickly focusing on the issues that matter most to Head Start during her freshman year in the U.S. House. Additionally, she was recognized for her bipartisan bill to allow Head Start programs to receive Federal Work-Study dollars and to give college students additional opportunities to gain experience in the field of early childhood education.
“Early childhood education remains one of the strongest investments we can make in the long-term success of our students and the long-term economic strength of our communities. Head Start has a proven track-record of success in Central Virginia, and millions of Americans have walked through its doors and benefited from the foundation it provides,” said Spanberger. “I’m incredibly grateful to be honored today by the National Head Start Association, and I’d like to thank the teachers, parents, and community leaders in Central Virginia who continue to advocate for this critical program. They are true heroes in our communities, and they are laying the groundwork for increased educational opportunities for the next generation. In Congress, I’ll keep advocating for robust investment in this successful program, pushing back against any proposed cuts, and fighting to advance my bill to make the Head Start program and its employees eligible for federal work-study dollars.”
“Head Start children and families are grateful for Congresswoman Spanberger’s support and thank her for keeping the commitment to Head Start in both her words and her deeds,” said Yasmina Vinci, Executive Director, National Head Start Association. “For 55 years, Head Start has been partnering with vulnerable children and families on their paths to success, and our impact would not be possible without the steadfast support of our long-standing allies in Congress.”
Spanberger received the Pledge Award during the annual Head Start Breakfast on the Hill, where she addressed Head Start parents, alumni, and other supporters who were on Capitol Hill to advocate for the early childhood development program with Members of Congress and their staff.
Spanberger introduced her legislation to expand work-study to Head Start in August 2019. Specifically, the legislation would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to make jobs in early childhood education—including Head Start positions—eligible as community service under the Federal Work-Study program. Currently, work study recipients are unable to use their designation to work in Head Start centers.
Spanberger led the introduction of her bipartisan legislation alongside U.S. Representatives Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20) and Tom Cole (R-OK-04).
Since arriving in the U.S. House, Spanberger has fought to strengthen support for Head Start programs in Central Virginia and across the country. In June 2019, she helped secure an increase of $1.5 billion for Head Start in a House-passed funding bill.
During her eight-stop education tour throughout Central Virginia in September 2019, Spanberger visited several area schools and workforce training programs to learn more about how she can continue her work in Congress to expand educational opportunities for all Central Virginia students.