Making Head Start Kids Part of the Brady Bunch

Tom Brady has a head start on a wonderful life.  He has the golden touch. But why couldn’t he also give a head start to the program by that name? Monday’s Boston Herald had an interesting juxtaposition, a story about a huge Head Start backlog in Massachusetts opposite a Peter Gelzinis column noting how Tom Brady, who just signed a jaw-dropping $72 million contract, gets a free $98,000 Audi S8 luxury sedan from the manufacturer because he supports the Best Buddies program, in which Audi has been involved.

Now, it’s admirable that Brady hangs out with developmentally disabled children through Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s Best Buddies Program. But, as Gelzinis said, couldn’t he take the freebie car, auction it off and use the proceeds for the charity? Track Gals Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa echoed the idea this morning, and the Globe’s Joanna Weiss weighed in as well, urging that the pampered and super rich jock refuse the car so it could be used for charitable purposes .

I’d like to go a few steps further. Let’s return to that juxtaposition I mentioned and look as well at the 1000 kids on the waiting list to get into the federal low-income Head Start program, the program that gives disadvantaged pre-schoolers an early education experience that enables them to do better in school. Advocates are looking for a $500,000 supplemental budget through the state legislature. Through the program, health and dental care also become available to these youngsters. Head Start participation can give the kids a boost – in math, in reading, in social interactions – that can mean the difference between success and failure in school. It’s a foundational experience that pays off.

So, Tom Brady, you just signed a $72 million contract to play football. You completed three touchdown passes on Sunday, and it was great fun to watch. How about kicking in some of your lavish income to help the Head Start program? More than 26 players on the Patriots earn in excess of a million dollars a year. The team’s total payroll is $96 million a year. How about taking the lead and soliciting donations from your well-heeled team mates and perhaps players on other Boston sports teams who have “made it.”?  Wouldn’t the real touchdown pass be one that helps a low-income youngster advance the ball and maybe even make it into the end zone?

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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