Giving Hope

Catholic Charities is grateful for local support that helps us walk along side individuals and families in crisis and give hope. Individual donors, community partners, corporate partners, Catholic parishes and schools, and volunteers all help advance our mission to help our community’s most vulnerable.

Friday, 01 September 2023

Valley of the Sun United Way and Catholic Charities Partner to Expand Westside Head Start Program

Catholic Charities Westside Head Start (WSHS) is more than just an early childhood education program. It’s a community that welcomes children and parents and believes in them even when they struggle to believe in themselves.

Westside Head Start provides comprehensive early childhood education by working holistically with the entire family. The program uses individualized learning plans, small group instruction, play-based learning, and assessments to ensure that children are prepared for kindergarten. Westside Head Start also offers a Home Base program for younger children that involves home visits.

Increasing Access to Early Childhood Education

Thanks to a new partnership with Valley of the Sun United Way, WSHS can welcome even more families into this caring community. WSHS also received a $67,500 grant from Valley of the Sun United Way. One of the goals of Valley of the Sun United Way’s Mighty Change campaign is to support education.

Specifically, this partnership and grant will help WSHS expand to the Tolleson area through a partnership with a charter school. It will allow the program to add three new classes in this area and serve 60 additional children.

“We are grateful to Valley of the Sun United Way for their partnership and support,” said Westside Head Start Executive Director Yatin Dua. “This partnership will help us reach more children and families in need and provide them with the services they need to thrive.”

A Family Thrives Thanks to Westside Head Start

Valley of the Sun United Way’s generosity will allow WSHS to serve more families like Eva’s. When Eva moved back to Arizona in 2014 with her three young children, she was a single mom struggling to financially and emotionally support her family.

Luckily, Eva found out about WSHS and was able to enroll her one-year-old daughter in the Home Base program. The Home Base visitor worked well with her daughter, who had behavioral issues. At the same time, the visitor helped Eva create a life plan listing her educational goals and job prospects and connected her to resources.

When Eva’s daughter was old enough, she transferred from Home Base to WSHS. Now, her daughter is in elementary school with a 4.0 GPA.

While volunteering in the Head Start classroom, Eva discovered a passion for education that gave her newfound motivation. Today, she is 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.

An Uplifting, Caring Community for Children and Parents

WSHS provided Eva with a community of like-minded parents. She became a policy council member in the program, which allowed her to share input about the services provided. “I will be forever grateful for the support I received and sing their praises to anyone who will listen,” Eva says.

The expansion of the WSHS program is a step forward in ensuring that families like Eva’s have access to quality early childhood education. With the support of Valley of the Sun United Way, WSHS will be able to provide even more children with the tools they need to succeed in school and life.

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