People often say it takes a village to raise a child. But not every parent has this support. Catholic Charities Westside Head Start not only provides early childhood education but also encourages parents to grow alongside their children.
Westside Head Start Works Holistically with the Family
Westside Heart Start provides early childhood education that focuses on including the whole family in the process. Early Head Start, which serves children up to age three, teaches parents of infants and toddlers parenting skills and early childhood development. The program also offers Home Base, a home-visiting program.
Leticia, a Westside Head Start mom, would do anything for her kids. She had no idea that by investing in her children’s education, she would also be investing in her own. She wrote a letter sharing her love for the program.
A Letter of Gratitude
My name is Leticia Hernandez. I'm a 31-year-old mother of four kids: Evoleht (11 years), Anthony (five years), Jazmin (two years), and Damian (9 months).
Growing up, I always wanted to be a teacher and work with kids. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to finish my schooling and only graduated from middle school.
When I got married, I wanted to have a big family like I did when I was a kid. But when it came to having my own kids, I realized that it wasn't that simple.
Children demand all your attention, especially at an early age. I always find ways to help my kids learn, so I went online to enroll Anthony in Head Start when he turned four.
Westside Head Start offered so much more than I expected. I made an appointment to place Anthony on the waiting list. The day of my appointment, they talked to me about their Home Base program, so I also enrolled Jazmin.
Soon, they called me saying they had a spot for Anthony, and I was so excited. A short time later, Jazmin started the Home Base program. Because I was pregnant with Damian at the time, he was also eligible for services.
I got involved with the program and became the chairperson of the parent committee. I also became the Home Base representative for the policy council.
This program is wonderful, and I love the Family Support Specialist and teachers. They helped me get information about how to get my GED. I'm currently enrolled in GED classes.
Anthony has certain behavioral problems, but I thought it was just him being a kid. Because of his teacher, I got in contact with professionals to help him. They help you find resources of all kinds.
I could go on about this program, whether it’s Home Base, Early Head Start or Head Start. It’s an awesome learning experience for both children and parents. I wish many more people would take advantage of these opportunities.
From Participant to Leader
Leticia is well-known by staff and other parents for her servant leadership and ability to get others involved. Leticia has given a voice to parents who feel overwhelmed and alone, reminding them that their community is behind them.