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A Mothers Gratitude for the Long Island Head Start Program

A grateful mother's experience with the Long Island Head Start Program

"I am very happy with the Long Island Head Start Program. The program has provided my family with the opportunity to create an early learning environment and gives a lot of support to my husband and I regarding my children's development. One of my kids started in the Long Island Head Start Program in February 2012.

My husband and I were very happy when one of our two girls was enrolled. The next year my oldest child was accepted too. I became an expectant mother and was enrolled in the Expectant Woman's program. Now my son is in his third year. At that time, I never imagined how far I would go with the program. My two girls attended Patchogue Head Start Center. When we moved to Central Islip, the girls attended Central Islip Head Start. The teachers are amazing, thanks to all of them for their splendid job. This year the oldest one is in Kindergarten. She is doing really great thanks to every teacher she had while she was enrolled in the Head Start program.

I was a volunteer mother. After an election process in the Center, I became a Policy Council member. After three consecutive years as a Policy Council representative I held the positions of Secretary, Co-Chairperson , and Chairperson; and attended the Board of Director Meetings as a Policy Council Liaison. Being part of the Executive Policy Council Committee, allowed me take part in the decision-making process together with the Management Team, which has been a wonderful world of knowledge to me. Besides that, I had the opportunity to share training with all the Center Managers from each center. This was an incredible experience. Of course, volunteering is not an easy job; it required work, discipline, patience and constancy to accomplish it.

During this time I met many staff members. I had the opportunity to visit centers in addition to Central Islip: Riverhead, Bellport and Southampton during their parent meetings to support other Policy Council Representatives and the Center Parent Committees. All centers are unique and they work hard to achieve their goal. My center base is Patchogue Early Head Start. I was the Chairperson there and I am very proud of say that last year we had a powerful Parent Committee working together with staff and the Center Manager to achieve our goals for the Center and our children. I am very sure this year will be the same with the new Parent Committee. I have to say thank you very much to all the parents that help in the centers; they make a difference in this wonderful Program.

After all, this experience gained I decided to apply to be part of the Board of Directors, a request that was accepted and now as a member of this council I will continue helping families. As a parent, I feel very grateful to the people who believed in me since the beginning. They gave me the opportunity to start volunteering in the program with confidence and enthusiasm and encouraged me to undertake this new journey of my life. I see Ana Figueroa, Policy Council and Volunteer Manager as my leader because she is involved closely in the parents' development.

I am a business administrator. I got my University Title in my Country El  Salvador "El Pulgarcito de America" or The Thumb of America. The participation in the program helped me to return to school. I got my GED certificate in January 2015. This time school helped me to improve my English. Although my English is still not excellent, I know that a language barrier will not stop me from advocating for my children or somebody else in need. I learned this during a training imparted by the Parent Leadership Initiative Program, through the Child Care Council, a program that Head Start connected me to. This program is an excellent resource of knowledge, motivation and empowerment to help the community. My goal for the future is to get a job or create my own business to help relatives in my country.

Thanks to Long Island Head Start for giving us the opportunity to have the best beginning for  our children."

Rosario Amaya

About the Long Island Head Start Program

The mission of Long Island Head Start is to provide a comprehensive learning environment to children, respectful of their cultures; and to assist families in reaching self-sufficiency through the combined efforts of parents, community and staff.