Monday, 17 July 2023

Head Start Helps a Family Feel Whole Again

Eva felt lost and broken when she moved back to Arizona in 2014 with her three young children. She was a single mom with limited job skills who struggled to support her family financially and emotionally. But Eva didn’t know at the time that this move would lead her to a community that would forever change her life.

Support for the Entire Family

She first heard about Catholic Charities’ Westside Head Start program after signing up for services with the Arizona Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

Eva and her one-year-old daughter soon began receiving services from Early Head Start. Early Head Start teaches parents of infants and toddlers parenting skills and early childhood development for children up to age three. It’s similar to Westside Head Start, which uses a holistic approach to provide comprehensive, year-round, early childhood education to children between three and five years old, but serves younger children and focuses more on home-based services.

Home Visits Encourage Parents to Get Involved

Eva was enrolled in the Home Base program and met with her Home Base visitor weekly.

The visitor worked well with her daughter, who was having behavioral issues. They taught Eva how to interact with her daughter while listening to and validating her anxieties and frustrations.

Along the way, the Home Base visitor helped Eva create a life plan listing her educational goals and job prospects and connected her to food banks and other resources. She set a goal of going back to college and finishing her degree. When her daughter was in the Head Start classroom, Eva was able to volunteer and learn some teaching skills.

A Bright Future Ahead

In May 2022, Eva graduated with honors from Northern Arizona University and received a bachelor’s degree in education. She is currently enrolled in the Master’s in Special Education Program at Grand Canyon University. She also works as a substitute teacher and provides services to children with disabilities.

When Eva’s daughter was old enough, she transferred from Early Head Start to Westside Head Start. Her daughter is currently in fourth grade with a 4.0 GPA. She was also recently nominated to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum: Pathways to STEM in the summer of 2023!

During her time with Early Head Start and Westside Head Start, Eva became a policy council member, which gave her the opportunity to share input and ideas about the services provided. She also established lasting friendships with other parents whose children were also in Head Start. “I will be forever grateful for the support I received and sing their praises to anyone who will listen,” said Eva.

Give to Head Start

If you’re interested in helping families like Eva’s, support Early Head Start and Westside Head Start by donating online. Your donation will help provide the items and services our families need to be successful.

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