Aleda Patterson was a former Edmonton Public Schools teacher who was instrumental in starting community agencies in Edmonton to support mental health, families and young children. Aleda believed that every child could do anything they aspired to, with the right amount of support from the community. She was an avid traveler and believed in providing children with experiences so they see themselves as belonging to a community.
In the early 1980s, Aleda helped establish the Personal Development Centre. The Centre offered free family counselling and is known today as The Support Network.
Aleda was the founder of the ABC Head Start program. The idea for ABC Head Start came to her when she was living in Colorado. She noticed the local ABC Head Start van in her neighbourhood and contacted the program to find out more. She took a training session and brought the concept to Edmonton in 1984.
Aleda recruited her teacher and social worker friends to help get the program started. This program was initially funded by Aleda and her friends. She also founded the Scarecrow Festival, which raised over $1 million in 10 years for both ABC Head Start and Kids with Cancer.
Since 1984, ABC Head Start Society has grown from a single location serving 10 children and families to a comprehensive early learning, family support and community program, supporting over 430 families at different locations throughout Edmonton. ABC Head Start annually awards the Aleda Patterson Community Spirit Award.
Aleda found joy in bringing opportunities to children and their families. As a school community, we will do the same. She believed that that there is little more valuable in life, than a great education. As we open our doors, we will create a learning and teaching environment that honours Aleda’s legacy.