To understand the difference early childhood education can make, talk to Melanie Rhodes. Melanie’s four-year-old son, Malachi, has attended the Action for Bridgeport Community Development (ABCD) Head Start program since he was nine months old. “He grew up in ABCD. All the staff love him to death,” she says. Malachi, who is autistic, has made steady progress and is learning skills he’ll need in kindergarten. “The main thing is to try to get him to slow down!” laughs Melanie. And now that Malachi is on his way to greater independence, Melanie is preparing to train to become a school bus driver.