Our "Beacon of Light" has passed

Mrs. Ruth Rucker, Founder of the Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Center, Inc feature image

Mrs. Ruth Rucker, Founder of the Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Center, Inc feature image

October 1, 2018

Featured as part of our 5th Annual Summit November 2017, Mrs. Ruth Rucker, Founder of the Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Center, Inc., passed away on September 8th. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Rucker and family during this time.

Presented below is a letter from Almeta Keys, CEO of the Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Center, Inc.:

On behalf of The Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Center, Inc.'s Board of Directors, Policy Council, Staff, Parents and Children, and with heartfelt sympathy, adoration, appreciation and respect, I announce the passing of our beloved founder, Mrs. Ruth Rucker. Please see the formal announcement from the family below.

"It is with great sadness that we announce that Ruth Rucker, founder of the Edward Mazique Parent-Child Center, Inc., and champion of early childhood education in the District of Columbia, passed away on the morning of Saturday, September 8, 2018. She crossed over peacefully in her sleep. She was 89 years old. The Rucker Family is in the process of making plans for her Memorial Service and will provide details very soon. Please keep her in your prayers, as her soul makes its way toward blissful peace, joy, and contentment with The Lord."

- The Family of Ruth E. Rucker

A Beacon of Light in the Community: Ms. Ruth Rucker from Rodham Institute on Vimeo.

In reflecting on Mrs. Rucker, many in the District have referred to her as the "Mother of Head Start". We at The Mazique Center fondly remember her as an Early Childhood Champion Extraordinaire. In recalling her life's story, many of the staff have shared that born out of a need to help young mothers get to work and go back to school, Mrs. Rucker approached the DC Government to start an Early Childhood program in the District for infants and toddlers. The District leaders were reluctant to invest in something that had never been done before, so they turned her proposal down on multiple occasions.

It was Mrs. Rucker's persistence, leadership, and confidence in the power of education that inspired her to open her own child care center to show the potential of early childhood education services in the District. After witnessing her impact throughout the community, and how her original vision looked in practice, the District Government awarded Mrs. Rucker the funds to support the first Infant and Toddler Center in the District. The Washington Child Care Center, as it was known at the time, caught the eyes of the Administration and after many meetings and planning sessions that Mrs. Rucker participated in, locally and federally, Early Head Start was born.

Today, after 50 years, The Mazique Center continues to thrive each day, facing each new challenge with a determination to uphold the principles for which the center was founded upon, always putting children first. Fondly known as "the next best place to home... where we are doing what is best for children", we continue to partner with the community, the DC Government, as well as the federal government, to live out the legacy of excellence in service for each family that enters our doors. It is because of the honorable, humble leadership of Ms. Rucker and her willingness to work with and serve the community that we still see the fruits of her labor each and every day here at Mazique.

An announcement with arrangements will follow as soon as we are notified by the family. Please join us in your thoughts and prayers for the family. We take comfort in knowing that "to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord"!