EDWARDSVILLE -- Madison County Chief Judge David Hylla and his wife Anita will be honored next month for their roles in supporting needs of children enrolled in a local "Head Start" program.
“This program is to help all children have the opportunity for preschool education,” Hylla told the Record regarding the Circle of Care award the couple will receive from the Riverbend Head Start & Family Services organization at a May 9 dinner at The Commons at Lewis & Clark Community College.
“It’s a dinner bringing people together for the purposes of helping kids," he said. "It’s why everyone's coming together.”
Although this marks Hylla’s first year of being directly involved with the program he said he plans to continue his support going forward.
“I intend to stay involved in the future and I’ve enjoyed meeting and working with staffers in preparation for this year’s event,” he said.
“Every kid is important and they definitely are our future. The more we can do to help them have a happy, healthy life, I’m willing to do. Mentally and physically, Head Start does that, and giving every child a chance is the right and fair thing to do.”
Hylla said his appreciation of Head Start-like programs go back to his time growing up in Madison County. His mother was a teacher’s aide for such a program when legislation establishing Head Start was enacted in the 1960s.
“We’re hoping to generate enough funds this year to get a Head Start program started in either Madison or Venice,” he said. “It’s just the right thing to do and, ultimately, will serve to make all of us stronger.”
In their charitable efforts over the years, Hylla and his wife have worked with programs such as New Opportunities, a workshop and training facility for the developmentally challenged. Hylla also has served as president of the board of directors for the program.
Despite their extensive involvement in supporting community needs, Hylla said they still feel somewhat awkward being singled out.
“We feel like we’re no more deserving to be honored by this group than anyone else that will be there and the thousands of others that have been longtime contributors,” he said.
Proceeds of the May 9 dinner are slated to go toward aiding children served by Riverbend Head Start and Family Services. Tickets are $75 and sponsorships are available ranging from $100 to $10,000.