Elizabeth Arreola had no idea that a sign at her local store would lead her down a path to self-esteem, better parenting, and advocacy.

In 2017, Arreola had just gone through the process of getting an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for her three-year-old son due to his speech delay, and she knew that he needed to be enrolled in a good preschool. That was when she remembered a Head Start banner she saw at the exit of the Rosemead Walmart.

Since enrolling her son in the Garvey School District Head Start program, Arreola has seen his speech develop and pronunciation improve. He is also “catching on to social and behavioral cues better and is easier to manage with personal hygiene,” such as brushing teeth and washing hands, because he practices regularly at school.

Arreola noticed her two-year-old son also exhibiting signs of speech delay. Thanks to her experience with her elder son, she was able to advocate for him to receive services at a regional center at a younger age. She plans to enroll him in Head Start as well.

As Arreola reflects on her time before enrolling her son in Head Start, she realizes now that she was in a depression. Thanks to her participation in the program and Policy Council (PC), she has started to become more involved in her community, which has engaged her mind and improved her self-esteem. “With all of the meetings and volunteering, being involved has become a part-time job,” Arreola said.

Arreola was elected PC chairperson in December 2017. She enjoys her time on PC for the opportunity to share information with parents from other agencies while strengthening her teambuilding skills.  More importantly, each leadership role that she accepts provides her with additional experiences that she can highlight on her resume when she reenters the workforce.

Once Arreola’s children are in school full-time, she plans on continuing her education to pursue a career in either child development or public administration. She also has a goal of possibly being appointed to her local school board within the next five to six years.