and Success Stories
We are calling for your help! The National Head Start Association
has sent out a request across the country to provide information
regarding Head Start Success Stories. They are looking for
examples of the successes that individuals, who have graduated
from Head Start, have experienced and/or are experiencing
now. If you have any information regarding former Head Start
graduates who are experiencing successful lives
within their community or if you are a success story yourself,
please tell us your story!
To Whom It May Concern: May 4, 2005
I would like to introduce my family to you. I am Barbara A.
Chadwick, single Mom to Logan 13 yrs, Nolan 10 yrs and Brendan
8 yrs. I am writing to share my firsthand experiences about
how Head Start has affected my life. I first became involved
in Tri-Town Community Action Agencys Head Start program,
located in Rhode Island, when my oldest son Logan was three
years old. I was a married, stay-at-home Mom and was looking
for a socialization experience for him. From the first day
he walked into the Head Start classroom, Logan was learning.
Learning how to play with other children his age, learning
to follow directions, learning math and pre-writing skills
and self-confidence. Logan learned so many things that there
are too many to list. The best part about Head Start was that
I was welcome in his classroom to share all of this with him.
I began volunteering and loved working with the children.
The staff at Head Start encouraged me to work towards my CDA
(Child Development Accreditation) and the Head Start program
even assisted in paying for the required courses. I even had
the opportunity to be on Head Start Policy Council. I was
elected for two years. I served on RI Head Start Association
as a parent representative and was elected to the New England
Head Start Association. I learned a tremendous amount about
Head Start during all of the time spent working in these groups.
In 1996, I began working as a Head Start Teacher Assistant
at Tri-Town Community Action Agency Head Start. Returning
to work after being home for five and a half years was very
exciting and stressful with three little boys at home. My
Head Start Case Manager assisted me in finding quality childcare
and encouraged utilizing the Department of Human Services
childcare subsidy program. After receiving this subsidy, my
family saved over $100 weekly. My second son Nolan began Head
Start at the same time that I began teaching. Logan was now
off to kindergarten, which he was very prepared for from his
Head Start experience. The program even provided transition
information to help him make the move from Head Start to public
school. Sadly, the public school was a very different experience.
I was no longer welcome in Logans classroom and needed
an invitation from the teacher to visit. Nolan, on the other
hand, was receiving visits from Dad and Grandma and even myself
when I could find the time in my work schedule to meet him
for a family event at Head Start. Once again one of my children
was blossoming under the wonderful nurturing he was receiving
in Head Start, and I could focus on my work knowing he was
safe, loved and very well cared for.
I did earn the CDA in July of 1997. During that time, I became
a single Mother. I cant even begin to tell you the amount
of support and compassion that I received from my co-workers
and Program Director. It seemed as if when my family had a
need, they were there to help me find the answers. Going through
divorce is truly a life-changing event. We had to manage big
financial changes, and several moves and a lot of stress.
I would now have to learn about the court system and child
support. My Head Start Case Manager was there once again to
help me through the maze of forms, questions and daily issues.
Due to all of the changes in my life, I decided to leave teaching
and applied for a Coordinator Assistant position within Tri-Towns
Head Start program. Once again, I received full support from
my peers. Working with the Administrative staff was very insightful
and I truly learned all of the passion and hard work that
goes into running this great program. The staff truly cares
for the families that they serve and make informed decisions
During second grade Logan was identified as having a learning
disability. Yet again, Head Start was there for us, even though
Logan was no longer in the program, his family was. I received
information and support that helped us through evaluations
and IEP meetings. I still utilize the knowledge I have gained
from numerous Head Start trainings as a parent and staff member
as well as an elected representative on the Rhode Island Special
Education Advisory Committee. My work on this Committee is
helping to make a difference in our childrens education
just like Head Start has made for mine.
My last son Brendan was also accepted into Head Start. He
gained a sound beginning and even though he has a November
birthday, he was reading before starting kindergarten. I truly
believe that he was reading so early because of the skills
he mastered in Head Start. He loves school.
I have had the opportunity to apply for various promotions
as they became available and by doing so have doubled my familys
income. Through Head Start, I learned about the 4H-housing
program. I applied for this program and four years later was
a homeowner. I do not think, without the 4H program and Head
Start, that I would have otherwise been able to achieve my
goal of being a homeowner as a single parent. Head Start has
provided so many things to my family that it is hard to list
them all. If I had to list the top five things Head Start
has given us it would be difficult.
My list would look something like this:
A stable career that I love!
An education for my children that was nurturing, safe
and the building blocks for a better education!
Information and support about special needs!
Wonderful support from staff and Case Management services
that cannot be found anywhere else!
Self-confidence to pursue my dreams and career goals!
As you can see, Head Start is a lot more than a pre-school
program. Without Head Start my familys future would
have been very different and I would not have returned to
school in pursuit of my life-long dream of working with families
and becoming a Social Worker.
name is Diane G. and I am an Early Head Start Teacher in a
program located in northern Rhode Island. The program that
employs me is an important support system for my family.
Almost four (4) years ago, my husband was diagnosed with brain
cancer. Our lives were tipped upside down. Our son was in
second grade and our daughter was 18 months old. As we struggled
with his disease, we looked toward our community for help.
We became involved with WIC and then were directed to our
local Head Start program.
Our daughter started the program in Early Head Start. The
Teachers and Case Manager helped guide me through many services
and programs that would ease the burdens of my husbands
illness. My daughter loved the social interaction and structure
the classroom gave her. By the time my daughter turned three
(3), she was transitioned into Basic Head Start. I was encouraged
to volunteer in the classroom; I soon fell in love with that
atmosphere. My volunteering turned into Substitute training.
I substituted many times and enjoyed learning from these talented
A job in Early Head Start became available in the summer of
2004. I applied and got the job. During my first year, I was
given the opportunity to attend many workshops and staff meeting
to discuss and learn how to best teach the children as well
as guide the families. I have just received my Child Development
Associate certificate. This was an opportunity funded by the
Head Start program that I worked for. The CDA program took
me most of the school year to complete, but boy it feels good
to have my certificate! Now I see that my employer (Head Start)
is still a caring, loving support system for me and my family.
very first experience with Head Start came when my youngest
son was able to be in a classroom slot. The time he spent
in the classroom, being taught by a wonderful teacher forever
changed my life.
I was going to college, a single mom of 2, newly divorced
and somewhat lost. My education preference changed and I knew
then that I wanted to become a Head Start teacher; to do for
others what was being done for me and my boys. It took me
plenty of interviews, but I finally was offered the position
of Family and Partnership Assistant. That was a wonderful
step forward and this taught me a great deal.
Nine months later, the teacher's position became available
- the same teacher that touched my Familys life was
leaving and I was in a position to apply and try to serve
families just as she had served mine. I worked hard and got
the job. Since day one, my heart has been in providing a positive
learning experience for young children and being an advocate
for parents. Tonight I am searching within my self to truly
find what fulfills with this position and am going to share
it with my staff tomorrow.
I am grateful and blessed to have the opportunity every day
to have parents entrust me with their youngster. Receiving
such honesty and openness from a preschooler is heartfelt.
I am lucky to have the opportunity to serve.
I want to start out by telling you a little bit about myself
and my family. My name is Jamie and I'm a single mom of three
boys. I have been involved with Head Start for 7 years. My oldest
son Damien is now 10, he started in Head Start when he was 3.
I was and still am an active parent. I started on the Parent
Committee where I served as Vice Chairperson and eventually
I moved up to Chairperson. I volunteered in his classroom often,
he loved having me there and I loved being there to watch him
grow in many ways. My middle son Evan, who is now 9 started
when he was 3 also, but unlike Damien I felt he was behind in
many areas. Because I was already in the program my case manager
helped to set up many evaluations for him. Evan had a speech
delay, fine motor delay and sensory issues.
For me it was hard to understand why and how my child could
have these problems but the Head Start staff supported me in
every way from attending I.E.P. meetings to answering questions
I had, to setting my son up with the services he needed. My
youngest, Alexzandre, is now 3 and I have been involved since
I was a prenatal mom. Alex has gained most out of being in a
classroom surrounded by children his own age. He has grown so
much socially it really is unbelievable. Through my years at
Tri-Town Head Start I have gone through a lot emotionally, from
unemployment, being homeless, child support issues, court issues
and so much more, but through it all the staff at Tri-Town has
been there more than anyone. I have been on Policy Council for
three years, parent committee, classroom representative, site
representative, and RISHA representative, as well as being a
volunteer and classroom substitute, I have sat in on many interviews
for case workers as well as teaching staff. I even went to the
NHSA conference in Salt Lake City, Utah in December 2005, which
was the first trip I ever went on. The Parent Involvement Coordinator
sat next to me on the plane and held my hand the entire time.
The staff has gone above and beyond on many occasions, I truly
consider them my family, we laugh and cry together. I know my
family has grown in many ways because of the staff and I will
be forever grateful. Head Start is the greatest experience I
could have ever given to my children. Thank you for everything!!!