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Leading on Lead: Head Start in Flint, Michigan

by Emmalie Dropkin
September/October 2016
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/leading-on-lead-head-start-in-flint-michigan/5023122/

“What we become depends on what we have the ability to overcome.” Hundreds of miles from her hometown, in a room of her peers, Shirley Lee spoke with great passion. Lee is the Head Start Assistant Center Director at Genesee Intermediate School District in Flint, Michigan — a city once known as the founding place of General Motors’ Chevy and Buick divisions but now more commonly heard alongside words like lead, water, or injustice. She has been at the forefront of the Flint Water Crisis since it began, and the Head Start where she works has been an integral part of the city for decades.

The Flint Water Crisis arose in 2014 when, as a way to cut costs, Flint switched its water source from Detroit’s system to the Flint River. In December 2015, the city of Flint declared a state of emergency. However, over the course of that year, an unknown number of Flint residents had already been exposed to the lead that was flowing through their pipes in the water that they used to drink, cook, and shower. 

In response to the disaster, Head Start in Flint is expanding, advocating, and committing to working with families to overcome the potential long-term ...

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