Miracle of Nicolas

By Brandy Bark

My 3 year old has behavior and speech problems. Being in Head Start has helped him learn better vocabulary and others can understand him better. He has also learned better social skills since being involved in the program. As a parent I have learned some very valuable things when it comes to dealing with a child with speech problems and behavioral issues. It has been less than a year and he has gone from saying, "oh do do" to "mommy hurt foot." I am very thankful to the Tammy and Julie at the Head Start class for working with my son as well as my son's speech therapist Wendy. If it was not for Head Start we would still be struggling to understand my son and his behaviors would be outrageous. On a good note, he has also gotten potty trained since being in Head Start.

Denise, Head Start Mom

Don't Feel Sad for Me...My Family Got a Head Start!

by Susan Roberts

I have written this story from the prospective of my adult daughter, and how Head Start affected our lives.

My name is Jessica, and I am three years old.  Today, I get to go to school for the first time.  Don’t feel sad for me.  I know I seem young, but I am getting a Head Start. 

My daddy doesn’t live with us.  My mommy and daddy fought a lot and so sometimes we live with mommy and sometimes with daddy.  But its okay, I am getting a Head Start.

My mommy is having a hard time getting out of bed to get me ready.  I am a big girl though, and I can do it myself.  I also get my little sisters ready for the day so mommy doesn’t have to.  She is tired from working her night time job.  But its okay, I’m getting a Head Start.

Tomorrow I get to eat lunch at school.  We get to dish our own food, and I get to talk with my teachers and my friends.  I love lunch. At home, my sisters and I eat dinner alone.  Mommy says she doesn’t feel like eating.  I ask for a snack after dinner, and mommy says we don’t have enough money for a snack, but that I will get one at school tomorrow.  But its okay, I’m getting a Head Start.

After lunch at school, my teachers help me brush my teeth every day.  At home, mommy is tired from worrying all the time, so sometimes she forgets to help me brush at night.  But its okay, I’m getting a Head Start.

In the afternoon, our teacher reads us a story.  I love to sit and listen.  I wish my mommy would read to me more, but mommy says it’s hard to read in the dark, and that we don’t have enough money to pay the electric bill.  But its okay, I’m getting a Head Start.

Some days at school, we get to go out on the play ground.  We get to run and play outside.  At home, mommy says we don’t live in a very safe neighborhood and it’s not safe to be outside.  But its okay, I’m getting a Head Start.

One day, we each got our own blanket. Teacher said they are from some special people who want to give us each a gift.  We get to take them home.  At home, I don’t have a blanket of my own.  I share with my sisters.   Sometimes it gets cold at night, but not anymore, because I’m getting a Head Start.

Before I get on the bus each day to go home, my teacher gives me a hug.  She tells me what a great job I did today at school.   Mommy comes out and gets me off the bus.  I wish my mommy would bend down and give me a hug, but right now she is too sad to even love herself, much less show me love.  But its okay, I’m getting a Head Start.

This morning, I got up and there was a strange lady in my house.  She was talking to mommy.  She was showing her all kinds of papers.  I took my sisters out of the room to take care of them, so they could work.  The lady called me back.  She gave my sisters and I some paints and paper, and told us we could stay there and make a picture.  She said she was a Family Worker, and was there to help my mommy.  Every time the family worker came, mommy would be happy.  It looked like my mommy was getting a Head Start too.

One day, my mommy got up and got my sisters breakfast.  She got me dressed and combed my hair.  My mommy’s getting a Head Start.

The next day, my mommy went to a place called the Head Start Parent Center.  That night when she was tucking me into bed under my nice warm blanket, she told me it was a fun place, where people made her feel good about herself.  She gave me a hug and told me she loved me.  My mommy’s getting a Head Start.

My mommy goes to that Parent Center place a lot when I am at school.  She told me one day soon she would take me there too.  My sisters get to play there, while mommy does important work.  I am glad that my mommy is doing important work.  It makes my mommy happy.   My mommy’s getting a Head Start.

Today I heard my mommy telling her friend why she likes to go to the Parent Center. I heard her say that people there are always telling her how smart she is, and how capable she is.  They tell her that she can do anything.  I already knew these things, but I can tell from the look in mommy’s eyes that she is starting to believe them too.  My mommy is getting a Head Start.

The family worker helped my mommy get our lights back on.  She was here today, and brought each of us some clothes and a nice warm jacket.  She helped mommy in the kitchen and showed us all how to make “Ants on a Log”.  She also brought us each a brand new book.  Tonight my mommy says she will read to us at bedtime.  My mommy is getting a Head Start.

One day when mommy got me off the bus, she had a big smile on her face.  She said we are moving out of our apartment and into our very own house that she bought.  We will each have our own rooms, play out side and make new friends.  My mommy is getting a Head Start.

Today, I am 11 years old and getting up in front of a people to read.  I am very nervous.    I have practicing and practicing with mommy.  I get up in front of all the people, and start reading.  I start to stumble.  My mommy rises from her seat to stand behind me, and finish what I had started reading.  I stand proudly beside her, because she is there to support me when I fall.  And she is not afraid to stand up for me or for herself anymore.  

Today, I am 20 years old and in my second year of college.  Not only has my mother watched my sisters and I grow, we have watched her grow as well.  She reminds us daily that we are where we are because of Head Start.  Head Start showed her the importance of being involved in our education.  She loved every minute of her years as a Head Start parent.  Every day, those around her watched her grow.  My mother’s love for Head Start did not just remain local.  She continues to share her passion at the State and regional level of Head Start as well.   

After my last sister finished her years in Head Start and went on to kindergarten, my mother became employed by Head Start as their Technology Coordinator.  She is reminded by her peers, who were once the people who supported her through hard times, that Head Start is not what changed her, but it was only the conduit for her to change herself.

It is a joy to see my mom love what she is doing.  I know it’s because she realizes, she is helping others, just as she was helped.  My mother made life long friends in other Head Start parents.  They are all thriving and continue to stay in touch and lean on each other, as they did in their times of struggle.  

As for myself, I am an above average student.   I have been captain of the Mock Trial Team at my  high school as well as Editor of the school year book.   I was crowned Miss Wisconsin Job’s Daughter, and traveled the state as an ambassador of that organization.   I am a confident, capable, well  adjusted  young adult with a wonderful network of friends.  My parents have both remarried, and I now have four parents who love me, and communicate with each other for the benefit of my sisters and me.  
I volunteer at our Head Start Parent Center as often as I can.  I attend Marian University studying  Elementary Education.  I hope, one day, to be as inspirational to children, as all of my teachers have been to me.  

So, as I said…Don’t be sad for me.  My family got a Head Start.