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AWARE Ink Newsletter

Supporting Families in More Ways than One

25 years ago, Alysa Shifty was one of the first children to start in Butte’s Early Head Start program. She did not complete the entirety of the program because she started when she was a little over a year old.

“My brother Seamus was the first kid to go through the program from zero to 3 years old,” Alysa said.

KT Collins, Alysa’s mom, had three small children at the time. She didn't know much about being a parent and Early Head Start really helped her get her feet on the ground.

“My husband was in school. We didn't have much of anything, or any real resources in our life. So having a safe and helpful place to go really got us on the right track,“ said KT, “He finished school and became a lawyer and I was able to then go to school and get my job.”

Alysa says, ”Head Start was important to my childhood because it really set me up for success before entering preschool.”

KT agrees and said, “They educate not just your children, but you. They also make it very family focused so you do family socials and it's fun. It's not just a place to go drop off your kids. You will bond with these people and you'll learn from them and they will learn from you.”

Both Alysa and KT have seen the impact Early Head Start has made over the years. They’ve seen it grow from a small, little-known program into one that has branched out, built on and touched a lot of families.

“We've added a lot more resources and I think it's absolutely amazing how they interact with the community and the support that they offer,” said Alysa.

Today, Alysa is Butte Early Head Start’s Administrative Assistant. She takes care of the teachers at the center and even jumps in at times to give them breaks throughout the day.

She even gets to enjoy watching her own son move through the program. It’s really come full circle in her family’s life and it’s a place she’s proud to have been part of for the last 25 years!

This is one part of a series highlighting the history and impact of Early Head Start in Butte. As part of our 25th Anniversary celebration, we’ve challenged ourselves to raise $25,000 in support of a full kitchen remodel at the Center. If you’re interested in making a donation in support of Early Head Start, please contact Bryon Higgins at or 406.563.8117.

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