April 24, 2017


Colneth Smiley
Desk: 617.348.6224
Cell: 617.872.9435


Join Cardinal O’Malley, Sen. Ed Markey & Mayor Marty Walsh
Celebrating ABCD’s Head Start Program Opening on Harrison Avenue


ABCD will celebrate the opening of its new Head Start center serving Boston’s Chinatown and South End communities on Monday, May 1, 2017 from 10:30 am to 12 noon.


The state-of-the-art early learning center at 595 Harrison Avenue, Boston, will serve 194 low-income children and their families from birth to five-years-old, including 35 infants, toddlers and pregnant mothers in Early Head Start.


Cardinal Sean O’Malley, revered champion of the poor and a Head Start neighbor at the South End’s famed Cathedral of the Holy Cross, will speak at the event and visit with children, parents and supporters.


Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, staunch supporter of early education and pre-kindergarten programs in Boston, as well as Sen. Ed Markey, a longtime supporter of Head Start and ABCD, are scheduled to attend the event, welcoming parents, children, and neighbors to the new site.


“ABCD is honored to welcome Boston’s beloved Cardinal, Mayor Marty Walsh, Sen. Markey and other guests to join us in opening this outstanding center serving low-income children and families of Boston’s South End and Chinatown,” said ABCD President/CEO John J. Drew. “These communities are home to thousands of families struggling to make ends meet while seeking the best education possible for their children. We are happy to provide this opportunity to help our neighbors in need better care for their children.”

ABCD Head Start and Early Head Start programs provide gold-standard education, health and well-being to poor children and families seeking stepping stones to a better life.


“These children are America’s future,” said Drew. “They deserve the very best in early education and care. Head Start provides that for more than a million poor children and families nationwide.”


ABCD Head Start will also open a new center in Malden, next month on June 9, 2017, enhancing the life-changing benefits of the national early learning program for low-income residents within the Mystic Valley area, while providing expansion of the Early Head Start program and its critically needed services for infants, toddlers and pregnant mothers.

Early Head Start harnesses brain development research

ABCD Early Head Start – a significant part of the new center and ABCD’s overall Head Start program – is unique among early learning institutions, leading the way in applying cutting-edge research on brain development in infants and young children to the needs of low-income families.  The Early Head Start approach to working with low-income pregnant mothers, infants and toddlers can provide children the start in life they need, well before they get to the 4-year-old pre-kindergarten age that many city and state early education programs focus upon.


Early Head Start was launched in 1994 when scientific advances drove a shift in understanding of how the earliest brain development impacts human health, achievement and well-being across the lifespan. Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy was at the forefront of the movement, stressing that creating the right conditions in early childhood is more effective and far less costly than addressing a multitude of problems later on.

A full-day, full-year program, ABCD Head Start currently serves 2,300 low-income children from birth to age 5 and their families in 24 ABCD centers plus several partner sites throughout Boston, Malden and Everett. Early Head Start, now at 12 sites, serves 282 infants, toddlers and pregnant mothers.


Over the past 52 years, the federal Head Start program has improved the lives of more than 33 million children from poor families across America, providing them with the skills and confidence to succeed in school and life. It has given Head Start parents educational opportunities to move up the economic ladder, empowered disadvantaged families and revitalized communities.  Head Start is renowned for its comprehensive services – education, health, dental, nutrition, social services – and intensive parent engagement.


Currently the national Head Start program is funded to serve only 42 percent of eligible preschool children and Early Head Start funding provides for only 4 percent of eligible infants and toddlers. ABCD says both programs should be expanded.


Increased funding has proven payback. A 2016 study by Nobel Laureate economist James Heckman, The Lifestyle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program, found that for every $1 invested in Head Start there is a 13% return ($6.30) on investment to society.
“ABCD Head Start has supported my children’s education, health and growth,” said Mimi Tovar, Boston Head Start parent and chair of the Head Start Parent Policy Council. “It’s open Monday through Friday at sites in Boston, Malden, and Everett serving 2,300 children. Many Head Start programs run full day, full year to meet the needs of working parents,” she said. “It gives parents like me opportunities to be all we can be, to learn important parenting skills.”


About ABCD

ABCD serves more than 100,000 low-income Boston-area residents through its central offices and a decentralized network of Neighborhood Service Centers (NSCs), Head Start centers, Family Planning sites and Foster Grandparent sites. Programs and affiliations include Fuel Assistance; Head Start; Child Care Services; Child Care Choices of Boston; Education; Career Development; Housing and Homelessness Services; Health Services; Family Planning; Urban College of Boston; University High – an Alternative High School; Ostiguy High School for high school students in recovery; Weatherization; Foster Grandparents; Elder Services; Intergenerational Programs; management of the Combined Federal Campaign, Commonwealth of Massachusetts and City of Boston employee giving campaigns; advocacy and consumer services.