About Reach-Up Head Start

Reach-Up provides free education opportunities to children and their families. We start as early as possible, supporting pregnant mothers and their families until their children are five years old. Reach-Up Head Start programming helps to prepare children for success in kindergarten and also supports parents in the role as their children's first and most important teacher. Our goal is to enhance parenting skills and provide early child development education.

There are four component areas of our services, Education, Health, Parent Involvement, and Social Services. We have a great education program, but what sets us apart are the Health (including health, nutrition, and mental health offerings), Parent Involvement, and Social Services components of our programs.

Reach-Up Programs

Reach-Up Head Start has a variety of programming available to families living in Benton, Sherburne, and Stearns counties who meet income eligibility requirements.

Early Head Start for ages Birth-Three:

In late 1997, the State of Minnesota funded a small program for families with children, birth-three and pregnant women. The program began in 1998 and served over 20 families with year-round services. In 1999, the federal level awarded Early Head Start funds to 32 families. Today, the funded enrollment for Early Head Start is 86, which is funded by Federal and State sources, and other grants and donations.

Head Start for ages Three-Five:

Today, we serve 278 children with federal and state sources, and other grants and donations.

Kindergarten Transition Services:

The United Way of Central Minnesota provided funds to start this program in 1995 and continues to fund this program today. Head Start funds also support this program. Staff continues the work with Head Start families as their children move into kindergarten successfully.

Full-Day Services:

In 2001, Reach-Up Inc. converted 34 Head Start slots to work with families who need full-day/full-year care. Today, both Early Head Start and Head Start families are served with full-day programs.

Our Mission, Vision, & Values

Reach-Up Head Start is recognized throughout the community and state as a family-focused early childhood developmental model of excellence that has a lasting impact. Our Mission is for Reach-Up Head Start and Early Head Start to provide comprehensive education and support services that strengthen young children and their families who are experiencing low income.

We value all relationships and base them on integrity, trust, and respect. Reach-Up continually works to build strength-based partnerships with children, families, and community agencies. At We are committed to fostering a diverse, educational, inclusive, and positive environment for all. Reach-Up Head Start believes that every child and family, regardless of their background, deserves access to high-quality early education programs and comprehensive family support services.

History & Funding

Reach-Up Incorporated was established as a not-for-profit single-purpose agency in 1979 and became the Head Start agency servicing Benton, Sherburne, and Stearns counties in Central Minnesota. Prior to this, the local Community Action Program administered the Head Start program in the same service area. 

Reach-Up Head Start is primarily funded by the Administration for Children and Families (federal) with additional revenue provided by the Minnesota Department of Education (state). Funding for Reach-Up Head Start is made possible by:

  • Administration for Children & Families: Office of Head Start 
  • Minnesota Department of Education 
  • United Way of Central Minnesota 
  • USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program 
  • Individual financial & in-kind donations 
  • Otto Bremer Foundation and Morgan Family Foundation 
  • Occasional one-time grants 
  • State of Minnesota Early Learning Scholarships 

Thanks to all who contribute!

Reach-Up Head Start is directed by a board of directors with community members and volunteers and by a policy council composed of current and past Early Head Start and Head Start parents and community members. The executive director manages the day-to-day operations with a management team.