Since I began as Executive Director in 2011, I have been humbled and honored to represent in our nation’s capitol, the dynamic grantees and migrant and seasonal families, who are among the hardest working and honorable this country has to offer.
The National Migrant & Seasonal Head Start Association (NMSHSA) provides a broad range of services and resources. For instance, this summer we are pleased to host our annual Public Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. During this event, which also features our annual Capitol Hill Breakfast and Advocacy Day, we share information about the latest legislative efforts impacting our programs. Next year, we will be hosting a Bi-Annum Conference (even years) here in Washington. This conference is our opportunity to learn from experts in our field, to network, and to recommit our energies to providing quality services to our children and their families.
On Capitol Hill, we are the voice of the migrant and seasonal farm worker families who work tirelessly under extreme conditions to provide our country with a safe and secure food source. We advocate for our Migrant & Seasonal Head Start programs and ensure the people we serve have an equal voice and access to lawmakers. Over the past several years, we have successfully worked to create set-aside language in each Appropriations Bill, we have advocated in all legislative matters pertaining to Pre-School for All, and we have worked closely to ensure our Migrant & Seasonal Head Start programs had equal access to the $500,000,000 dollars recently appropriated for Early Head Start/Child Care Partnerships. In our advocacy work, we have been fortunate to work in tandem with our partner, the National Indian Head Start Directors Association, as well as the National Head Start Association. Currently, we are closely monitoring all activities suggesting a possible Re-Authorization of the governing Head Start legislation.
In addition to our policy and legislative advocacy, we also look to build the next generation of leaders from migrant farmworker families. In 2012, the NMSHSA Board of Directors initiated the Summer Internship Program for Migrant & Seasonal Head Start alumni who began their education as very young children in the Head Start program. Each class of summer interns has proven to exemplify our motto: “Proven Potential-Providing the Path.” I am grateful to our partners who have made this success possible: National Education Association (NEA), National Educational Systems (NES), Frog Street Press, The US Charitable Gift Trust, and others. Through our collective efforts, I believe this internship program is changing lives for the better and making future leaders for our community and our country.
I am proud of our team here at NMSHSA and all the progress we have made in recent years. I invite you to be a part of the National Migrant & Season Head Start Association, and help make a difference for the children of all migrant and seasonal families.
Cleofas Rodriguez, Jr.