Prior to enrolling her four-year-old son, Enzo, in Head Start, Cecilia “CeCe” Prudencio was in a relationship that adversely affected Enzo and led him to exhibit disruptive behavior.  But after Prudencio consulted with a family service worker at Niemes Head Start (ABC USD), Enzo started counseling and his conduct improved.

In addition, Prudencio stated, “Enzo is very smart and intuitive, and school has brought it out even more.”

Although Prudencio has been a part of Head Start for less than a year, she has found the access to resources invaluable.  She credits the advice that she received from other parents in helping her successfully navigate the regional center process and advocate for her two-year-old son.  Based on information from the program and support from other parents, she realized early on that he had a speech delay and was able to access support including speech classes.

Prudencio has also found support for herself. Before she enrolled Enzo in Head Start, the relationship that had affected Enzo had also left her depressed.  In Head Start, she found that volunteering gave her an outlet for staying productive and busy by being actively involved in Enzo’s school. Additionally, the mental health consultants from the school referred them to parent and child therapy—which has been helpful for them both.

She also found it comforting to be able to talk to people who can relate to her challenges. “I made friends that I didn’t think that I would have been friends with under other circumstances,” Prudencio stated. And in addition to broadening her social contacts, “Head Start gives me knowledge and exposure to more experiences,” Prudencio added. Already volunteering for leadership roles at Niemes, when the opportunity to represent ABC at Policy Council arose, she signed up instantly.

Prudencio credits her experience with Head Start with helping her regain a positive mindset.  Grateful for the support and encouragement she has received in Head Start, Prudencio’s goal is to go back to college in the near future and continue to build a stable life for her and her two sons.