The history begins with the Encanto Head Start program, a delegate program operating under the grantee, Neighborhood House Association, with the sponsorship of the Encanto Methodist Church, and leadership of Dr. Geneva Roberts. The program provided part day services to 80 children and their families in the Encanto community. When the church was sold, sponsorship was withdrawn, and another community organization was sought for governance oversight and sponsorship.
Barbara Y. Fielding, Head Start Director at Neighborhood House Association, suggested that Dr. Geneva Roberts explore the possibility of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority becoming the sponsor of the Encanto Head Start Program. Barbara explained that the sorority needed to be involved in the community, and what better way to be involved than to sponsor a program that provides pre-school services to children ages 3-5 years old?
A presentation on Head Start was developed by the Head Start staff, which was presented to the Executive Officers of the AKA Sorority. The meeting was held at the home of Barbara Anderson. The sorority considered the proposal for two to three weeks, and after much consideration, the decision was made to become the sponsor of the Encanto Head Start Program.
First Organizational Meeting
1977- The first organizational meeting was held with the new Board of Directors at Hester Murchison’s house. Barbara Anderson called the first meeting to order. The sorority at large elected fifteen members to serve on the Encanto Head Start Board of Directors which was comprised of twelve sorors’ and three community representatives.
The first elected Executive Board Officers were Lois Bynum-President, Sarah Mitchell-Vice President, Hester Murchison-Treasurer, and Muriel Sadler-Secretary. The name of Encanto Head Start was officially changed to Alpha Kappa Alpha Head Start, (AKA Head Start), in 1971.
Reorganization of the Head Start Program
In 1978, Neighborhood House Association re-organized service areas. The decision was made to transfer AKA Head Start to the East County, to develop Head Start centers within the eastern area of San Diego County. There had not been a site in East County since the summer of 1964. Alpha Kappa Alpha Head Start established three centers, Avocado Head Start and Mollison Head Start programs in El Cajon, and Woodside Head Start in Lakeside.
The efforts by Dr. Geneva Roberts and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Epsilon Xi Omega Chapter, planted a legacy in east county San Diego which still holds a presence today. Well known as a community service provider and partner, AKA Head Start continues to embrace the vision that every child’s family leaves empowered for a better life.