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Bob Harding and Teri Seaton are two people who might not seem like they have much in common. Bob works as a bank executive and, with his wife Shannon, is raising three young kids on a 5-acre hobby farm in Stafford, Oregon just east of Tualatin. They have 30 chickens, 3 goats, a cat, and a dog. Teri Seaton lives in North Portland with her husband, Greg Stevens. Not a single chicken, goat, dog or cat can be found in her house. But though she has no children of her own, she does spend a lot of time with them. Teri, you see, is a Head Start preschool teacher. And Bob, you might be surprised to learn…was once a Head Start student. Head Start is a federal program that serves low income children and families. Both Oregon and Washington offer the program, but neither state receives enough funding to serve all children and families who are income eligible, so they supplement the federal program with state dollars. Child advocates, education, and political leaders have called for increasing access to early learning and early childhood programs. That’s alongside a growing body of research on the long-term benefits of early care and education programs in general. With that backdrop in mind, we wanted to hear directly from those who have benefited from the program and those who work directly with children and families every day.

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