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This is Chris Redgrave for Zions Bank Speaking on Business.

Utah has always been known for our culture of helping and serving one another. That's probably why the Beehive State has been named as the top volunteer state from Volunteering and Civic Life in America for the last seven years. And Head Start is an important part of that.

Head Start serves 2,300 children annually and there are 1,300 kids on the waiting list for these services. The average family of four on the program makes a little over $13,000. They take a three-pronged approach to helping the kids they serve with focus on health, education and self-sufficiency. Since most of the kids haven't seen a doctor since they were born, Head Start offers a program of health services to promote preventive health and early intervention. And it has impact.

Some of these kids have such challenging health issues that the pain blocks their learning process. I'm talking about kids from age 2 to 5 so this is a critical time for them developmentally.

For most kids, the food they eat at Head Start is the only meal they get. That's why they created the Kitchen. Community Relation Manager Joni Clark says the idea is to provide these kids with two-thirds of their daily nutrition through high-quality and nutritious meals. They also educate the kids on what food they're eating so they can develop good eating habits. Head Start sends food home on the weekends for these kids and their families.

An important aspect of the Kitchen is that Head Start is operating it as a social entrepreneurship program by feeding outside clients. This is bringing much-needed revenue back into the program and helps Head Start be more self sufficient.

Finally, in the self-sufficiency program, Head Start works with parents to connect them with other agencies and programs that will help fulfill their needs. They also teach parents how critical the first five years in a child's life are, so they can be prepared to act as the primary educator for their children and invest in their future.

For Zions Bank, I'm Chris Redgrave, speaking on business.

Head Start 1307 S. 900 West Salt Lake City, UT 84104 801-977-1122

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