Murals brighten up Edwardsville Head Start centers

SIUE news

Shown from left to right are Travon Miller, 4; Messiah Supreme-Dey, 3; Shamon Franklin, 4; Kyiren McCray, 3; LaDarrius Roberts Jr., 3; and Chanel Segar, 3. (Photo courtesy of SIUE)

Students’ colorful handprints are artfully displayed in paintings at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Head Start/Early Head Start Centers at Lovejoy and Helen Davis.

The handprints are part of an original mural created by Theresa Hitchcock, SIUE art enrichment graduate student at the Lovejoy Head Start Center in Brooklyn, according to Kay Robertson, center coordinator. The mural’s message reads: “Rooted in love, joy will grow!”

“Theresa wanted to brighten the students’ time at the school, and she also wanted to leave a tangible thank you to the students and staff for her past year of work at the Head Start center,” said Robertson.

Hitchcock had the same thing in mind for the Helen Davis Head Start Center in East St. Louis, where Wanda Brown is the center coordinator. Creative flowers, using the “handsie” work of the preschoolers, grace the white wall with a quote from Audrey Hepburn that reads, “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, ‘I’m possible!’”

The SIUE Head Start/Early Head Start program serves more than 1,700 families and youth from birth to age five (including children with special needs) in St. Clair County.

The program includes 14 early childhood centers, seven managed directly and seven collaborations. Services include a rigorous school readiness program, educational programs for family members, and health and dental screenings.