The Union Baptist / Harvey Johnson Head Start (UBHJHS), located at 1211 Druid Hill Ave., serves 80% of its families in the Upton Community in which it is located and other families in adjacent areas. The center has been in operation for forty-five (45) years serving over seven thousand (7,000) families and the community. The current pastor is Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Hathaway, Sr.
UBHJHS Center is privileged to be under the auspices of the Union Baptist Church whose congregation, under the leadership of Rev. Vernon N. Dobson, raised over two million dollars ($2,000,000) to build a state of the art facility for pre-school children and their families. It is the first church in the city to undertake such a task.
Union Baptist Head Start began in the Harvey Johnson Center built by Rev. Baxter L. Matthews as a part of a Latch Key Program to protect children, empower families, and maintain Union Baptist Church’s intention to create a beloved community. The plan was to have such an educational program for the Black community, as did the Jewish community for their youth. In 1968, the Community Action Agency, directed by Parren J. Mitchell, and spearheaded by members of the Goon Squad, began an eight-week summer program of Head Start with federal funding. For three years, Dorothy B. Mapp, LaVern E. Stewart, Melva P. Greene and Beatrice P. Rodwell operated without compensation so that the children of the community had a place to play safely and to learn creatively while their parent worked.
Eighteen children began that program under these persons who were professional school teachers working unsalaried. In the fall of 1970, due to the success of the pilot, it was enlarged to a full time program and Dorothy Mapp and LaVern Stewart resigned their professional positions in public school to create the first of seventeen Head Start Centers in Baltimore City.
The Head Start program, which began in the Harvey Johnson Center of Union Baptist Church, grew to a $2 million dollar building project that encompassed the renovation of six buildings to the north and south of the church. Under the vision of Rev. Vernon N. Dobson, a Child First campaign was launched to build a state-of-the-art facility. In 1993, we broke ground and in 1996, the program, which had gained national prominence in excellence in child care, moved into the completed learning center.
Union Baptist - Harvey Johnson Head Start, located at 1211 Druid Hill Avenue in Baltimore City, serves 80% of its families from the Upton community in which it is located and other families from adjacent areas. Union Baptist - Harvey Johnson Head Start is privileged to be under the auspices of Union Baptist Church, which is the program’s delegate agency. The congregation, under the leadership of Rev. Vernon N. Dobson, raised over $2,000,000 to build a facility with the latest concepts and designs for pre-school children and their families. It is the first church in the City to undertake such a task.
Since its inception, the program has followed the philosophy “the maximum feasible participation of the poor” and models Maya Angelou’s expression, “At our best level of existence we are parts of a family and at our highest level of achievement we work to keep the family alive.”
UBHJHS serves its funded enrollment of 214 children while meeting the needs of additional children of low-income families. Children are taught skills in social/emotional, intellectual, physical and cognitive development. Ten percent of the children we serve have disabilities and are seen by a specialist in the field of the child’s disability. A Mental Heath Consultant works with individual children as well as with parents, providing parenting classes and individual parenting services. Family Service Coordinators (FSCs) provide special services to individual parents and families as needed. Health and nutrition are very important systems that are taught and will serve families well for a lifetime with 3/4 of the children’s meals served in the center.
The program offers three options: Full Day classes, 7:30 AM - 4:00 PM; Part Day AM classes, 8:00 AM -11:30 AM; and Part Day PM classes 12:30 PM - 4:00 PM. Parents choose the option according to their need.
Board of Directors: The Board of Directors is comprised of approximately 20 volunteers and is responsible for the legal and fiduciary oversight of Union Baptist Harvey Johnson Head Start. The Board is led by Lucretia H. Billups, Chairperson.
Policy Committee: The Board of Directors participates in shared decision making with the Policy Committee, comprised of parents of currently enrolled children and community representatives. The Policy Committee is led by Leslie Winfield, Chairperson.
Academic Advantages of a Union Baptist Head Start Education
#1 among Baltimore City Head Starts in getting children “Fully Ready”
for kindergarten 2011-2012 school year
Individualized instruction and small class sizes
Each child has an individual plan tailored just for them and it is updated 4 times a year.
Classrooms have an average ratio of 8:1, with every classroom having 2-4 adults.
To provide comprehensive, integrated, strength based support services that promote a culturally relevant approach that will empower families to become competent and self sufficient, in order to help their children become socially responsible and academically ready to successfully meet the challenges of school and work.
Qualified and Experienced Child and Family Development Staff
Family Service Coordinators with degree in Human Services.
Education Coordinator -degreed in Early Childhood Education with nearly 35 years of combined classroom experience
Developmentally appropriate mix of LEARNING with a rest period necessary for proper growth and development of the pre-school age mind and body.
Our children grow in the areas of:
∞ critical thinking ∞ pre-reading skills
∞ number recognition and beginning math concepts
∞ scientific observation ∞ dramatic play
∞ self-help, independence and conflict resolution
∞ sight words ∞ music ∞ name recognition and letter writing
∞ gross &fine motor development ∞ social skills – sharing, cooperation, communication and leadership
What is Head Start?
Head Start was founded in 1965 as a pilot Summer Camp initiative for disadvantaged
economic populations. Over forty-six years later, Head Start remains committed to
serving culturally diverse and linguistic population of students. As a result, Head Start is
the model pre-school program across the nation.
Union Baptist Harvey Johnson Head Start was founded in 1968, under the leadership of
Rev. Vernon N. Dobson. We currently serve 214, three, four, and five year old children in
the Upton Community.
The staff works as a team and we operate our program with the belief in something greater than ourselves.As one of the pioneering programs in Baltimore City, we continue to strive for excellence in our holistic approach to child development, family involvement, and community partnerships, and were recently recognized for our visionary work and strategic planning by Head Start Body Start.