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Madison County couple to be honored for service to disadvantaged youth, families

hylla david anitaWith almost 40 years of combined impact on the community, Madison County’s Chief Judge David Hylla and his wife, Anita will be added to the list of Riverbend Head Start & Family Services Circle of Care honorees.

The annual event recognizes individuals from Madison County who exemplify what it means to care for the community in which they live, work and raise their families. The Hylla’s financial contributions and volunteerism toward missions that create change and positive experiences for disadvantaged youth and families also influences community wellness.

“We are very fortunate to have the Honorable David and Mrs. Anita Hylla partner with our agency this year in support of our mission and its services. We are inspired by the priorities of their own stewardship to create safe environments and communities, to help others live a physically, emotionally and spiritually healthy life and to empower people to be successful in their own passion driven purpose. The Hyllas represent the best of all of us!” said Gene Howell, president of Riverbend Head Start & Family Services.

For over 29 years, Judge Hylla has served as president and on the board of New Opportunities, a workshop and training facility for the developmentally challenged. For more than 10 years, Anita Hylla has focused her energy and time with youth educational and recreational activities. Riverbend Head Start & Family Services, St. Louis University Athletics, Southwestern Illinois College’s and Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees’ (SOAR) Scholarship programs are among the organizations they have strengthened through their time, talent and treasure.

Riverbend Head Start’s Board member John Hopkins said: “Judge David and Anita Hylla represent the very best spirit of the Circle of Care – dedicated professionals who find time to give back to the Community and Family. We are humbly proud to honor them this year.”

“To receive this award from such a well-respected organization, is such an honor to me and my wife,” said Dave Hylla. “Riverbend Head Start holds the key that empowers impoverished families and their children with a chance to not only succeed but excel in life.

“Anita and I have lived in Madison County our entire lives as have our parents. I grew up in Madison and Anita grew up in Granite City. My mother actually worked as a teacher’s aide in Madison when Head Start originated there in the mid-1960s. I remember her walking to work from our house on Market Street to the old Madison High School building on Third Street. So, it’s no secret to our family that Head Start has been an important part of our community for a very long time. It’s a privilege to help our community in any way we can and we’re thrilled to be invested in and a part of such a vital service in our community.”

The Maryville couple has a host of close friends on the planning committee which include: Norma Bellcoff, Adam Hornberger, Dr. Ed Hightower, Ted Gianaris and Judy Pratt.

The dinner will be held at The Commons at Lewis and Clark Community College on Thursday, May 9. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the event begins at 6:30 p.m.

Reservations are $75 a person or $600 for a table of eight, and must be made by April 29. Sponsorships and donations are also available. Proceeds will benefit the children and families enrolled in one of the six Head Start and Early Head Start program centers operated by Riverbend across Madison County communities.

The Head Start organization provides children living in poverty from birth to age 5 or challenged with special circumstances including physical and learning disabilities with an early childhood education through our Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Head Start collaborates with community resources and uses a holistic approach in working with multi-generational family households on nutrition, unemployment, education challenges, child and home safety, child social and emotional development, dental access and education, physical and mental wellness and much more. Parents are engaged just as much as their children in its comprehensive program through center-based learning environments and home-based visits. Their mission is to empower children and families to develop the positive skills to meet life’s challenges. Event sponsors like Cope Plastics, Gori Julian and Associates, Helmkamp Construction, and Simmons Hanly Conroy help support the mission along with federal and state funding, local grants and individual donations from the community.

To support this event with reservations, donations or through a sponsorship opportunity, please call: (618) 463-5946. For additional information or to support the event with an online, contribution, visit: 

PHOTO: Circle of Care Honorees, Chief Judge David Hylla and wife, Anita Hylla spend time sharing their musical talents and treasures with children at the Granite City South Head Start Center.


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