Dream Makers

Child Development Center opens at PCC Cascade

Michael Leighton | 9/10/2014, 10:18 a.m.
New classrooms for Albina Head Start and Albina Early Head Start at Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus will bring needed ...
Mrs. Dian Jackson (center), the widow of Rev. John H. Jackson, the Portland religious leader known for his activism in bringing positive change to the local African American community, cuts the ribbon to the John and Dian Jackson Center on the Portland Community College Cascade Campus in north Portland. The center will provide new classrooms for Albina Head Start and Albina Early Head Start. Also participating in Friday’s dedication ceremony is (pictured from left) PCC Board Director Kali Thorne Ladd, former PCC Cascade Campus President Algie Gatewood, current Campus President Karin Edwards and Albina Head Start Board Chair Richard Brown. Photo by Mark Washington

Calling themselves “Dream Makers” advocates for education and families have dedicated a new child development center at Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus.

The new classrooms in Cascade Hall, a new three-story academic building opening this fall, provide space for Albina Head Start and Albina Early Head Start and bring needed child care for people advancing their education on the north Portland campus.

“The buildings that matter most are the ones that make a difference in people’s lives,” officials said in describing the new addition.

In a special honor at Friday’s dedication ceremony, the child care classrooms were named the John and Dian Jackson Center in honor of a local African American couple who have worked for decades to bring positive changes to Portland.

The late Rev. John H. Jackson served as pastor of Mount Olivet Baptist Church where he was a leader for Civil Rights in Oregon from the 1960s until his death in 1994. A building at Cascade was dedicated Jackson Hall years earlier in his honor. His widow Dian continues the family legacy with more recent donations to the PCC Cascade library and a collection of his correspondence, sermons and personal effects to the campus.

For many years Albina Head Start and PCC have collaborated to bring their two communities together, sharing the love and education and valuing the Portland community, officials said. The partnership has come full circle with the opening of the John and Dian Jackson Center.

PCC President Jeremy Brown was joined by former Cascade Campus President Algie Gatewood, incoming campus president Karin Edwards, Head Start Director Ron Herndon, and several other community leaders, for the child center’s opening ceremony. Richard Brown, a Portland activist and board chair for Albina Head Start served as Master of Ceremonies.

Head Start is a national program that promotes school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children with educational, health, nutritional, social and other services. Early Head Start promotes healthy prenatal outcomes, enhances the development of infants and toddlers, and promotes healthy family functioning.