News / Blog

ClackCoKids Goes to Baltimore!

By Raylene Donaldson; ClackCoKids Education Manager |

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Baltimore with a group of ClackCoKids staff and parents for the National Head Start Association conference. The event was held in-person for the first time since 2019, and the energy and joy at being able to gather with others who have been impacted by Head Start vibrated through the room at the opening keynote speech.

The theme that was woven throughout the week was “renewal.” After the heaviness of the past few years, it was a fitting topic. There was recognition of how hard the past few years have been, and of how much we have adapted, overcome, and learned. The speakers throughout the week encouraged us to use that knowledge as we look to the future of Head Start and Early Head Start, and there was an emphasis on staff wellness and training to ensure our professionals are able to give the best services to the children and families in our communities.

While I found value in all of the information shared and enjoyed the opportunity to learn from other professionals from around the world, what inspired me most throughout the week was seeing how our family representatives engaged in the conference experience. Our families advocated for our program well, and also found themselves opened to new opportunities and possibilities.

Attending the conference allowed us to connect with the larger Head Start and Early Head Start community, and share common struggles we face. We were able to brainstorm with and learn from others outside of our own community. Ultimately, I walked away feeling excited about the future of our program, and of Head Start as whole. We are resilient. We are committed to serving our community, and that gives me a renewed sense of purpose and hope.