Home BLOG and EVENTS Blog Articles Lost Opportunities: National Head Start Association Features work of Local Photographer and CAPSLO Head Start Families

Lost Opportunities: National Head Start Association Features work of Local Photographer and CAPSLO Head Start Families

Photo by Keith Dunlop, Curators without Borders, NHSA 2014When sequestration cuts required Head Start programs to reduce their program costs by 5.27%, Director of Children, Youth, and Family Services Bill Castellanos knew that he didn't want to reduce the number of slots or staff. Instead, Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (CAPSLO) Regional and Migrant and Seasonal programs opted to reduce their number of operating days, closing some centers up to two weeks early -- affecting families served as well as staff.

These cuts rippled through Head Start programs across the nation. The National Head Start Association, in conjunction with Curators without Borders created a photo-journalism project called *Lost Opportunities: A Lens on Head Start and the Sequester* to raise awareness among policy makers and the public about the human cost to these cuts.

Curators without Borders hired photographers from 6 states to document the way different programs handled the sequestration cuts. The project culminated with an exhibit in the US Capitol building during the last week of January, 2014.

CAPSLO's Head Start and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs were selected to represent California in this project. San Luis Obispo photographer Keith Dunlop spent three days photographing families in San Luis Obispo, Salinas, Chular, King City, and Gonzales, capturing the daily lives of a few Head Start families.

Before photographing the project, Dunlop had heard of Community Action Partnership but expressed being unaware of the breadth and depth of services the agency offers. Dunlop found his participation with the project to be a transformative experience. Below is an excerpt from an interview with Dunlop:

"Not being a low-income person, or a migrant farm worker, it was extremely eye-opening to get an understanding of the day-to-day routine of the families I photographed. The parents are up by 4:30am, making daily lunches to bring into the fields. Then they get the kids up and ready to be dropped off at school and are in the fields by the time the sun is coming up. It struck me how difficult it would be to do this day after day-- especially if these services weren't available. After shadowing their lives for just a couple of days, I have become a huge proponent of this (MSHS) program."

This video provides a walk through of the Lost Opportunities Exhibit in the US Capitol building