Texas Couple Props Up Head Start While Government Is Closed

Laura and John Arnold of Houston have pledged up to $10 million to keep the Head Start program running in six states. The preschool program for children from low-income families abruptly closed in some areas last Friday because of a lack of funding.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And a similar offer of money has propped up some Head Start programs. Laura and John Arnold of Houston, Texas, pledged up to $10 million to keep the program running in six states.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Head Start is a preschool program for kids from low-income families. And on Friday, it closed down in many places when the government partially stopped. This is how the parent of a Head Start child, Laura Bastion, heard the news.

LAURA BASTION: Like, oh, you know, hey, thanks for picking your kid up on time. But you can't bring her back after Monday because we're not going to be here.

GREENE: Laura Bastion lives in Tallahassee, Fla., with her three daughters. Her 3-year-old is enrolled in Head Start.

INSKEEP: Now, Ms. Bastion's mom took care of her daughter while Head Start was shut down. But it wasn't a long-term option. So it was a relief when Bastion heard Head Start was coming back.

BASTION: It was kind of a "thank God" moment, like OK, my child can go back to school. So that just takes all this weight off of me, of worrying and stressing being a single mom. I'm already stressed enough.

(LAUGHTER)

BASTION: You know, the couple that donated this money, they were a godsend.

GREENE: That's parent Laura Bastion from Tallahassee, Fla.

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