Story submitted by: Ciara
Head Start parent

My journey with Head Start began when we were a young, struggling family of six. My husband and I were both in college and working part-time to care for our four children. Our middle daughter started the Head Start program and things in our life immediately began to improve. Head Start paid for us to go to marriage counseling to help improve our relationship, provided us with a fireplace baby gate to keep our toddler safe and gave us opportunities to learn parenting and child development skills. After I graduated, one of the teachers encouraged me to apply for a Special Aide position in my daughter’s classroom, which lead to an Associate teacher role in my younger daughter’s classroom, which lead to my becoming an Education Coordinator for the local agency that ran all the Head Start/Early Head Start programs across two counties. In 2016, the director nominated me for a scholarship for the CAEYC conference where I received an award for my “incredible work with children and families.” I now have my master’s degree in psychology with a specialization in child and adolescent development and work for the California Department of Public Health supporting children and families across the state.

I am so grateful to Head Start for their encouragement along my career path. It was much more than my children who were educated and gained lifelong skills during their time at Head Start. I appreciate all the staff, children, and families that I learned from along the way. Working with Head Start enabled me to teach others to understand the importance of early intervention and education programs. I consider myself an early childhood advocate and have advanced my career exponentially since my first year as a Special Aide. I few years back I went to see a play at a local high school and the child that I had been an aide for was a senior and had a large role in the play. His mother approached me and thanked me for the influence I’d had on her son. He had many challenging behaviors and needed a lot of guidance. I remember one day when he was in pre-k, he would put his arms around me and tell me he loved me and that he wanted to be a teacher like me when he grew up. It was at that moment that I knew how important my work was.

Filter Articles by Month
Skip to content