Head Start program aims to stop violence

(WTHR photo)

Promoting peace is something that has to start at a young age, according to Diane Baker, Executive Director of Family Development Services for Marion and Hamilton counties.

She encourages parents to enroll children in Head Start programs so they can begin learning important life lessons at an early age.

"The children who do not attend a quality program are 70 percent more likely to commit a violent crime," Baker said. "Getting an early start on education is extremely important if we're going to have a long-term effect on crime in our community."

Education is something Brandi Wilkins knows is extremely important.

"I dropped out of high school and I did not graduate, but I went back when I got pregnant and I graduated when I was 21 and I don't want [my two children] to struggle like I do," she said.

The single mother hopes Head Start will be a step in the right direction for her 4-year-old son's future, as it was for her 9-year-old daughter.

"I want my son to follow her steps. She is practically a straight A student and is on the honor roll and I want him to be able to be the same," Wilkins said.

The Family Development Services Head Start program serves about 2,000 families in Marion and Hamilton counties. The program begins for the upcoming year on August 18. Two more registration periods are planed for the coming school year. The first will be August 2 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and the second on August 16 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Both will take place at 3637 North Meridian Street.