The West Virginia Head Start Association represents around 2,000 staff members, serving more than 8,000 children and families of West Virginia. An elected body of 21 members governs the organization – a Board of Directors comprised of Program Directors, staff, currently enrolled Head Start parents and community representatives. The WVHSA works to continuously strengthen its services, always with the aim to further benefit low-income children and families of West Virginia. West Virginia Head Start grows through their advocacy, professional development, and strong relationships with both local and national partners.
The West Virginia Head Start Association was founded in 1985, when three organizations came together to better serve low-income families in need. The West Virginia Head Start Directors/Administrators Association, the West Virginia Head Start Staff Association, and the West Virginia Parents’ Association joined under the umbrella organization: the WVHSA. At the time, the WVHSA was led completely by volunteers serving on the Board of Directors, as well as members of affiliate organizations. In 1990, the organization grew when the Friends Affiliate became part of WVHSA.
In the fall of 1997, the organization was restructured with the aim of creating a stronger, more united Head Start to better serve West Virginia. Thus, the four organizations dissolved to create a powerful, consolidated voice. As the needs of the local community increased, so did the need for a non-volunteering staff to helm Head Start’s training, informational, and advocacy work within West Virginia. In 2000, Head Start chose its first Executive Director to oversee the growing organization, while maintaining 100% of the existing membership within Head Start and Early Head Start programs.
The West Virginia Head Start Association proudly represents parents and children, staff, administrators, and partners of the organization. These members and leaders work together on the local and federal level to affect policy change that will improve the lives of Head Start families. By partnering with local and national advocacy groups and organizations, Head Start is part of a larger network that strives for positive change for the families that make up its community. Head Start is constantly open to evolving and growing its services, continuously providing opportunities for the staff to learn from each other and from others in the local community.