November 23, 2011 Edition

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Head Start honors Russell, Howard

Redda Russell (left) and Pauline Howard have received special honors from Region VI Head Start Association, which consists of five states.
TD Photo ~ John Bland
Region VI Head Start Association, which consists of five states, has named Redda Russell of Hoxie as 2011 Volunteer of the Year and Pauline Howard of Walnut Ridge as 2011 Friend of Head Start.

Rhonda Ahrent of Pocahontas, program director for Black River Area Development's Head Start - Early Head Start, and Betty Cook, Walnut Ridge Head Start - Early Head Start director, made the presentations during a reception held Thursday morning at the Walnut Ridge center.

Redda Russell

"Redda has been a huge part of Head Start since her first grandchild enrolled in 1998," wrote Cook in a letter nominating Russell.

"Redda is every center director's dream," said Cook. "She is a phone call away when I need a parent meeting speaker, a Kiwanis member to pass out books to children, a police officer to speak on Halloween safety or a Santa for the holiday celebration."

"It's amazing the things that she has done," Cook said Thursday. "The children have had experiences that they would never, ever have had. Redda is not afraid to ask for anything."

Each year, Head Start has a Fall Fun Day that, because of Russell, turns into a fun week. "Redda makes sure the children have many learning experiences. Helicopters, wagon rides, school buses and even state representatives show up, thanks to Redda," Cook stated.

Upon accepting the award, Russell thanked her family for their support and for sharing her with Head Start. She also stressed the importance of nurturing and supporting all children. Her daughter, Danielle, was present for the event. She also has another daughter, Bridget, who is a senior at Hoxie High School.

Pauline Howard

In Pauline Howard's Friend of Head Start nomination, Cook wrote, "Ms. Pauline has been a dear friend to Head Start since her great-grandson was enrolled in 1993."

She began her journey with Head Start volunteering to 'watch over" her little three year old. Ms. Pauline's attendance was great! She never missed a day bringing Casey (Flippo) to school."

Nineteen and a half years later, "she's still here," Cook said Thursday. "She's here early each morning, waiting for the children," she added.

"That boy is now over 6'4"," Howard said.

"It's been good for me," Howard said, adding, "We have a great group of girls to work with."

Cook noted in her nomination, "Ms. Pauline finally began receiving a stipend, after many years, through the Foster Grandparent Program of the East Arkansas Area on Aging Program ... Children, families and staff benefitted from Ms. Pauline's love, caring and wisdom."

Family members present for Pauline included daughter, Paula Hutcherson, son, John Howard, granddaughter and Casey's mom, Kara Guinn of Paragould, granddaughter, Paige Howard of Walnut Ridge, and twin great-granddaughters, Hayden and Henley.

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