D.A. Dudley was once the Director of Children’s Services for the Community Action Commission (CAC). Her favorite memory of her Head Start days is playing the guitar for the children outside on the grass. It was while at Head Start that Dudley became interested in unresolved child abuse cases and “making sure that the most vulnerable victims have justice.” This led her to law school, which she attended at night while raising three children under the age of seven.
CAC Children’s Services include Head Start, Early Head Start and Child Development programs providing high-quality early care and education for countywide children aged 0 to 5, and services for pregnant women. Children’s Services also operates Superior Court Children’s Waiting Rooms in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, giving children a safe and educational place to be while their parents are in family court.
CAC was formed in 1967. The agency employs close to 400 people at 40 locations countywide to serve over 10,000 individuals annually. In addition to Children’s Services, CAC feeds children and seniors, helps youth facing challenges such as gang involvement, unemployment and teen pregnancy, and makes low-income homes more energy efficient. CAC is supported entirely by public and private grants, donations and fundraising. Fran Forman, CAC Executive Director, notes that, “The District Attorney is one of many former Head Start children and staff who have continued to recognize the importance of the program to children, families and their own lives.”
For Joyce Dudley, the model of excellent childhood education was and continues to be Head Start, “because of its comprehensive approach to the child…Head Start involves the whole family and influences the child’s whole life.” Dudley is an active member of the Head Start Alumni and Friends Association of the Central Coast.
The Buena Vista Center where the District Attorney will donate the bicycle is located at 140 West Park Street in Santa Maria.
For information, contact: Buena Vista Head Start Site Supervisor Stacey Lara can be reached at 922-1439.