Head Start's end-of-year party provided services for its new graduates while remaining a fun time for pre-schoolers.

Head Start’s annual year-end party is usually a great way for pre-school students to celebrate their graduation to kindergarten. This year, Center Director Alisha Broughton chose to make it something more.

They still had food and games for all 59 of their graduating pre-schoolers, but also invited dozens of volunteers and aid workers there to provide information and assistance to the low-income families that Head Start targets.

“For a lot of these families, it (was) the last time they’ll bring their kids to Head Start. What better day to bring these things to them?” said Broughton, who took over the Milford branch of the national pre-school program last June.

The party was held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 22, outside the Head Start building on 6th Street. The entire block was closed to traffic, and there will be games, food and information booths set up around the Head Start building and on the Mount Enon Baptist Church grounds across the street.

Area schools, Milford Housing Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club, the Lions and Key clubs, the Milford Police Department, the Carlisle Fire Department, the Milford Public Library and more than a dozen other groups, agencies and businesses came out to help with the party, and to give the families of Head Start children full access to whatever services they might need as their kids grow up.

“There are all these people out there that our families can use,” Broughton said.

People’s Place offered services for the families of children with developmental disabilities. The USDA and Habitat for Humanity gave out information about low-cost housing, and families who need healthcare assistance could set up medical visits through Delmarva Royal Ministries, covering anything from flu vaccinations to mammograms and dental cleanings.

“If there’s any health-related issues, they’ll be here so the parents can sign up,” Broughton said before the party.

Representatives from PNC Bank and the Sussex Federal Credit Union were on hand to help set up family bank accounts.

“We’ve seen a lot of families that don’t have a checking or savings account, and this is a way they can set up one,” she said.

Even the entertainers got into the act. Keenote Kids and the Delaware Music School both participated, and musically-inclined students were signed up for lessons.

"DMS said they would be willing to work with us; a lot of our students would be given scholarships,” Broughton said.

The party’s new look is part of a larger change for Milford Head Start; its three-year sponsorship by the Community Development Institute to a grant from the Telamon Corporation, and Broughton is coming to her first anniversary as director.

“Last year, it was just the games…I’m trying to think about the holistic family for this,” she said.

For more information on Head Start, call Broughton at 424-2335.