By: Cleofas Rodriguez, Jr., Executive Director of National Migrant & Seasonal Head Start Association

We all have a vision for our individual futures and we strive to make that vision into reality. We must all do the same with our nation. With mere days before a historic election, it is important that everyone exercise our right – indeed our obligation – to vote in a country where previous generations paid the ultimate price for us to have this privilege.


Too often we assume others will vote- or worse yet- our vote does not matter.   This cannot be further from the truth.  Your vote does matter and the only vote you can ensure is the one you will cast. Let me share with you an example.  It is in part due to Pennsylvania that the current administration is in office today. It is because seven people in each district voted and impacted the election results. If it was not for every individual taking the time to vote, good or bad, the outcome would have been different.

I plan to vote and I encourage others to as well. 

Do not take your responsibility to vote for granted.

The future of many issues are at stake when the ballots are cast in November.  The issues I am particularly concerned about are the opportunities children of farmworker families will have in early education.  Will their particular needs be understood and taken into consideration as the new administration sets priorities, policies, and practice?

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Education is a fundamental cornerstone that promotes language development, problem solving skills, builds creativity and provides overall readiness for our students to enter public school.  For almost 50 years Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs have provided a comprehensive “head start” to thousands and thousands of our nation’s most vulnerable children.

This comprehensive approach has one ultimate goal- ensuring students enter their next educational setting ready to learn.  This is done by providing customized services for children and their families that focus on education, nutrition, health and social services.

What makes Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs unique is the fact they each take into account the agricultural needs of their communities and customize programs around those needs.  As the harvest demands families to work 12 hours a day for six days a week, a Migrant and Seasonal Head Start program provides educational services for their children.  Migrant and Seasonal Head Start programs are often the safety-net for young children.


Our nation has two very different candidates with extremely differing opinions to choose as our next president. I encourage you to study each candidate’s positions and cast your vote for the one that most aligns with your values and priorities. Remember, voting is not just about who we are as a nation today, but who we will become for our children and grandchildren. One thing for certain is that whoever wins on November 8th, he/she will make decisions that will impact early education for years to follow. The only way you will know for certain that you made a difference for our future is if you vote. See you at the polls on November 8th!