Head Start Awareness-Hear From One of Our Parents

Head Start Awareness-Hear From One of Our Parents

Importance of Head Start

Southern Oregon Head Start (SOHS) prepares children and their families for success in school and throughout life. At SOHS we help children develop social and emotional well-being and academic skills while also assisting parents with the necessary tools to make informed choices when it comes to their child’s education and well-being.

A past Southern Oregon Head Start Parent shared how important their experience was with us:

“Head Start is geared in theory to the children, yet, when the parents accept this service, it can change the whole family and it did for us. This child is now a sophomore in high school—myself, I did not start public school until 8th grade, my wife struggled to make it through High School. Head Start made it where our child and the other two entered primary school ready to start learning. Head Start gave my child and the other two with disabilities a leap that would likely not have existed for them.”

More Than Success At School

Southern Oregon Head Start is dedicated to not only providing the tools for students to be successful at school but to also provide them with the resources for overall well-being.

“The most important contribution Head Start gave my son: I am credentialed in Mental Health, it’s my current employment and even with my work experiences during this time of his life, I could not get my child the mental health treatment he needed—it was his teacher and advocate at Early Head Start that broke the barriers of mental health. Now, he’s in 7th grade, the original issue is resolved, however, he is getting continued successful mental health treatment for on-going diagnosis, and this would not have happened without the influence of Head Start staff.”

At Southern Oregon Head Start our staff are dedicated to our families and their overall well-being. We continue to advocate and provided necessary resources for our family’s success.

The Listo Family Literacy Program: Changing lives in the Latinx Community

The Listo Family Literacy Program: Changing lives in the Latinx Community

“Are you Listo to learn?!”

Listo means “ready” in Spanish, and here in Southern Oregon Head Start we take that phrase to a whole new level.

LISTO Family Literacy is a program of SOHS that provides culturally specific learning opportunities for Latinx families in Jackson County.

Last year the wonderful team at LISTO met challenges such as family displacement and providing distance learning to families who may not have had access to technology needed for virtual classes. In 2020-2021 LISTO staff even stayed connected with local partners to supply food boxes and assistance. “Many of our Listo families have come to a new country. They have big dreams. And those dreams are bigger than their fears,” said Patty Gutierrez.

LISTO created a distance learning service model and new program components to help continue child and family education outside of the classroom. Distance learning features story times and joyful check-ins for participating infants and toddlers. Preschool-age kids prepare for kindergarten, while older kids get individual homework help from accredited teachers- all virtually. Our LISTO family has gone above and beyond to help Latinx families in Jackson County to be “listo” to learn and grow. They were featured in The Collins Foundation’s annual report for 2020-2021 for their exceptional level of support of families in our community.

We are so proud of our LISTO program for its success in changing the lives of Latinx families in our community. Learn more about our LISTO program.

Cooks Have Clever Way to Stay in Touch

Cooks Have Clever Way to Stay in Touch

The Cooks at ABC-B: Marina, Debbie, Brittany and Ada, put together a clever and creative way to stay in touch with their Classroom 2-Duration students: This fun mailbox! Chealsea White, TA, reports that the kids send in questions and love getting a response from the Cooks!


Josue’s Story

Josue’s Story

At Southern Oregon Head Start, childcare reaches beyond the classroom. Our goal is that all Head Start graduates enter kindergarten happy, healthy and ready to learn. For this reason, we offer healthy meal choices, family resources, and free medical and dental screenings and care for all students.

This is Josue’s story.

During a dental screening visit to a Head Start center, our contracted dental hygienist, Melanie, brought in a four year-old boy with big brown eyes named Josue. He was very shy about having his teeth examined. Melanie gently lifted him onto the exam table and asked him to open his mouth so she could see his teeth.

She looked up at the Head Start teacher with tears in her eyes. It appeared that every tooth had severe decay. Melanie gently talked to Josue and asked if any of his teeth hurt. Josue nodded yes.

Josue was an emergency dental referral.

He needed to be seen by a dentist as soon as possible. As he was not covered by any insurance, the Head Start Health Manager contacted Dr. Frimkess, who scheduled Josue in two days.

A family advocate arranged transportation to get the child and his parents to the appointment. Dr. Frimkess found that Josue had 18 teeth that were severely decayed; some needing root canals and crowns. The total cost of the treatment would have been $3,700, but the dentist accepts our reduced fees for service, which came to $2,000.

Because Head Start funding includes a small budget for dental and medical care as “dollars of last resort” when children have no insurance, Southern Oregon Head Start paid the bill.

A smiling boy today.

After treatment, Josue’s teacher reported, “What a difference we have seen in Josue! He smiles all the time. It is such a joy to see him out of pain and playing with his friends. This little boy now talks proudly about taking care of his new teeth that don’t hurt anymore!”

Jarod’s Story

Jarod’s Story

Jarod’s Head Start Story

Throughout my life I have embraced countless challenges forging a rigorous path to success. As a child I was fortunate to participate in Head Start. Sadly, just two weeks after my mother proudly watched me graduate from Head Start, she suddenly died in a fatal car accident. I was forced to put my newly instilled life skills to the test.

My father was forced to raise two children under assailing circumstances. In his struggle to provide a means of support, he turned to methamphetamine. My brother and I suffered many consequences varying from lack of supervision to living in substandard shelters. We made our home in an old Oldsmobile, an abandoned metal Quonset hut, and a slew of shacks awaiting demolition. Finally after a handful of depriving years my father was imprisoned.

Living through these hardships has produced two distinct brothers. As a recipient of Head Start’s resiliency building curriculum, I was prepared for the hardships of reality. Striving to succeed, I overcame immense obstacles to consistently be at the top of my class. Unfortunately, my father neglected to enroll my brother into Head Start. This adversely affected his academics as he continually underachieved and eventually dropped out.

Jarod’s Journey Today

My involvement with Head Start continues to catapult me to success as it gave me the edge to be awarded the Oregon Community College Association “Outstanding Student Scholar.” With this award comes the unique privilege of dining with Governor Kulongoski. Another door that opened through the Head Start was when I approached Rogue Community College (RCC) to charter a club for Head Start parents. This led to becoming the Student Body President. Currently, I am pursuing a degree in Elementary Education and desire to become a fifth grade teacher.

I am extremely grateful that all of my three lovely children have benefited from this awesome agency affording them a Head Start in life. I am proud to serve Southern Oregon Head Start as the Policy Council Chairperson. I am so appreciative and thoroughly enjoy giving back to a program that has done so much for my family and me.

Riley and Kristal’s Story

Riley and Kristal’s Story

When Kristal enrolled in Early Head Start, she was a pregnant, single mother living with her parents because she could not afford a place to live on her own.

When her son, Riley, was born, she was so happy to show off her new baby to her EHS Specialist, Karry. Kristal appreciated having Karry there to support her and give her information and resources she wanted. Kristal talked about her dream of becoming a pre-school teacher. At that time she was on probation and was told she would never be able to work with kids. Karry encouraged her to try anyway and not give up. Kristal applied to the criminal history registry through the Child Care Division and was approved. She was so happy!

Riley in Early Head Start Today

Kristal contacted her Jobs Specialist at the Job Council to tell her she was now enrolled in the criminal history registry and then began the work experience program. This led to Kristal joining our Head Start Slide program. The EHS staff also encouraged Kristal to apply to Rogue Community College and work towards an AAS degree in early childhood education. She started taking classes in 2009 and now has 33 credits.

Kristal’s son, Riley, loves his teacher Amy’s toddler group. He enjoys playing with the other kids at EHS. He’s so excited to go to bed when he knows he gets to go to EHS the next day! He also loves the home visits when Amy comes to their house. Riley especially likes “ribbon dancing” when the toddlers all dance with ribbons on little sticks to a special song. His communication skills are off the charts and he has learned how to socialize with the other children.

Kristal will always remember the relationships she and her son have formed at EHS. They are very important to her.

Translate »