Agency: Foundation for ECE

 How did you learn about Early Head Start/Head Start?

I heard about Head Start when I had an open case with Child Services due to domestic violence. At that time, my oldest daughter needed to be enrolled in school and my social worker referred me to Head Start. The FSA then called me to see if I was still interested and signed us up.

Why did you choose Head Start?

I chose Head Start because of the domestic violence report and it was the only way for me to keep custody of my three-year-old daughter. It was also a rule from my social worker so that I could prove to her I was capable of being a responsible parent.

How has your agency supported you with your child’s learning?

During this process, I was also pregnant with my second child (Mateo, who is currently 4 years old). A year ago he was diagnosed with autism, and the more I attended resource meetings I began to get involved and I could understand him better and help him live his life in the most normal way. The biggest support I received wasn’t just the workshops on understanding behavior management or the first five years, but it was also the support I received from Rosalba Lizarraga and Elvia Lopez. Parent involvement was key to not feeling alone through this process and the advice and all the resources that Foundation shared helped me and my son.

 How has your agency supported you with your personal goals?

Due to me getting involved in everything, like volunteering and attending most of the meetings, one day in one of the meetings I heard about a program offered to parents to start our child development career as Teacher Assistants (the Career Development Initiative program). When I signed up, I was allowed to study and do my practical hours at one of their sites, which will eventually allow me to get my Associate Teacher Permit. I’m still working on completing my hours, and I have been offered a position as a classroom aide.

What advice would you give to another parent looking for a school for their infant/toddler?

I want to be transparent with my answers just in case someone went through or is going through the same thing. I hope that I can be a light and help someone who feels helpless or unsupported. My advice to another parent is that as hard as our path might seem, Head Start is the beginning of something wonderful. This program and LACOE not only allow you to provide your child an early education, but as a parent it helps you grow professionally and personally. The support they provide you is unconditional (like having a second family). Head Start offers you more than you can imagine, if you give yourself a chance.