will be celebrating 25 years of service to the community this summer.
Growing from a modest operation with hardly a budget, to what is now an icon
in the Bushwick community, Administrative Director, Mr. Jose R. Gonzalez
guides us through the transition that pushed his Agency from a single site,
labor intensive operation to what is now a technology driven multiplex that
continues to make a difference in the community.
"We began operations in 1974 becoming incorporated
as a not for profit organization and started our head start program in 1981", recalls Mr. Gonzalez.
"With a small budget of about $60,000 and just one location, I
began on a journey to provide children in the Bushwick community with
education or a Head Start". After setting up the first site,
there was no looking back. Throwing his heart and soul into his
work for the past quarter of a century, the efforts of this Bushwick
citizen have helped children to get a proper pre-educational foundation.
"Indeed, some of our graduates have even returned as teachers", boasts Mr.
Gonzalez. "Some of the programs we implemented have even helped
parents secure gainful employment opportunities by allowing them to
become more articulate in the English language (through ESL training)".
There are also opportunities for parents to use computers to enhance
their resumes, type application letters and create portfolios.
As the years
passed, the needs of the community have changed, he acknowledges. "More and more parents are
becoming educated and are looking for jobs. The recognition that education
is a means of attaining upward social mobility is continuously voiced by our
social service staff, whose regular workshops and frequent interaction with
parents have led to the transformation of our program from what was once
predominantly a program of part day classes to a majority of full day sessions.
To facilitate this changing demand, as well as provide increasing slots for
children, we have had to expand".
"As a result of our
expansion over the years, we can now boast of five locations and an
enrollment of over four hundred and fifty children. Our operations
have dramatically changed also. This website is testament to the
changes happening at Bushwick United. We are adding technology to our
operations to cut costs, increase efficiencies and reach a wider audience.
Our motto is to "try to do more with less."
When asked about the
future of his agency, Mr. Gonzalez responds, "I see Bushwick United as
continuing to play an integral part in the development of the
The agency will continue to recruit the best skill, secure the best
available resources and continue to provide above average services to children and families. I see us continuing to make strides into areas that are
neglected, reinforcing the good aspects of our operations and working on the
areas that are not as strong. Our objective is to be the best that we can
be. I would also like to state that the success we've enjoyed so far is not due to me alone. I am fortunate to have a cadre of well
qualified, dedicated and proactive individuals on my staff, who, without
their hard work, would not have made us what we are today. For that I
Head Start will be celebrating its 25th anniversary at the Princess Manor in
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York on the 27th of July 2006.
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