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Success Stories
Lily and Eduardo's Story

“Lily and Eduardo”

Lily was 17 years old, pregnant and living with her mother when she enrolled in Early Head Start. She asked me to be her Doula. On a home visit, we talked about the kind of birthing experience she wanted. Together we created a birth plan describing how Lily wanted to be comforted during labor and her wishes concerning medical interventions.

As Lily’s due date approached, I spoke with her after each doctor’s appointment to see how she was feeling. Lily felt calm about her birth plan and was very excited to meet her baby! She decided to give birth naturally without pain medication because it would be the best for her baby’s health.

It wasn’t long until Lily’s labor began. As the hours went by, I used the techniques we had talked about to keep her as comfortable as possible. We took several walks through the hospital halls. I massaged her feet, legs and back. Lily did squats, took several relaxing showers, and moved her body into different laboring positions. She was incredibly determined, strong, and courageous throughout the night. After a long and hard labor 8 lb. Eduardo was born! His umbilical cord was cut and he was placed on his mother’s chest. Eduardo and Lily gazed into each others eyes. Lily was so proud of herself! She told me, “It was all worth it!” Lily’s tender handling of her new baby and their successful nursing was a beautiful sight to witness.

Connor's Story


I made a post partum visit within the first two weeks of Eduardo’s birth. I gave Lily resources on caring for a newborn and asked how she was feeling about her new role as a parent. Lily said she was feeling great and Edurado was nursing well and gaining weight. Lily’s extended family were all there beaming with pride. I asked Lily what I did as her Doula that she felt helped her the most so I can better help others. She said, “Everything! All your support was so helpful”.  Conner enrolled in Head Start when he was three years old. At first, Conner had a hard time adjusting to school. He had never been away from his mother before. He could only speak in one word sentences and had such difficulty going from one activity to another that he would have long crying spells. Connor’s teacher Debbie noticed that the busy Head Start center environment was often overwhelming for him. She also observed that Conner seemed unaware that other children were nearby. When Debbie greeted the children each morning and gave them a hug, Connor wasn’t able to say hello or hug her.

Debbie and Connor’s parents developed a trusting relationship and began to work together to help Connor. Debbie focused on Connor’s strengths and suggested ways his parents could help him learn at home. Connor’s parents were extremely motivated to do whatever they could. During the winter break when Head Start was closed, Debbie knew Connor needed to be reminded of his connection to Head Start. She made a tape of songs they sang in class for Connor, and Connor’s parents played it to him every day.

At the end of the year, Connor was evaluated by Asante Child Development Services. The results showed that Connor had Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. Although this was difficult news for Connor’s parents to hear, Connor was making incredible progress at Head Start. Connor’s successes included using more words, giv- ing his teacher a hug and saying good morning to her, learning to ride a bike and talking to a friend about her new red shoes.

Heidi Logan's Story

Heidi Logan

Over the course of Connor’s second year at Head Start he began to write the letters of his name, to ask questions of others and to explore the classroom independently. At the end of the year Conner was ready to move on to kindergarten. He has now successfully completed first grade. Debbie thinks often of Connor and his family. She will always hold them in a special place in her heart.
Heidi Logan, Head Start parent and the 2005-2006 Parent Policy Council Chairperson, won the National Head Start Association’s Phyllis J. Jones Memorial Scholarship Award. Awarded to one Head Start graduate each year, the $1,500 award will help Heidi continue her dream of achieving a college degree. Heidi said she was always told as a child that low-income children couldn’t go to college. Through encouragement and support from Head Start staff, Heidi became a student in the criminology program at Rogue Community College. She plans to transfer to Southern Oregon University and become a juvenile corrections officer. Heidi wants to help kids who get in trouble to find a better path in life. At the Southern Oregon Head Start 40th anniversary celebration in May 2006, Heidi spoke about what Head Start has meant to her.

“I am blessed and honored to be part of this wonderful celebration. This is not just a celebration of an organization but the celebration of the force of families and our strength to want our children to be better then what is expected of low income families. We may not have the money to financially help the program, but we have something better, the time and ambition to be part of our children’s education. I am proud to be a part of the Head Start family. Because of Head Start, I have been able to see something more in me that the staff saw in me long before I even knew I could do it. The staff is awesome and is there to help with whatever they can. Head Start will always be a big part of my heart and my life. May Head Start be here for another 40 years!”

Josue's Story


During a dental screening visit to a Head Start center, our contracted dental hygienist named Melanie brought in a 4 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.

The Cruz Family Story

Jose was an “emergency referral” and 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 $3,700.00, but the dentist accepts our reduced fees for service, which came to $2,000.00. 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. 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!
The Cruz family has lived in Medford for five years. Antonio works in construction and Ana stays home to care for their three children age 2, 3 and 5. They have been enrolled in the Listo program for the past two years. Antonio has a high school diploma and is studying hard in Listo’s ESL class to improve his English speaking skills. Ana attends Listo’s GED class with the goal of completing her high school education. They feel that Listo has given them a variety of valuable information about community resources, parenting tips and most important to them, help in mastering English. They have also taken advantage of the Listo computer loan program which allows them to borrow a computer over the weekend and study English curriculum at home.

Ana realizes that going to school will help her gain the skills she will need to join the work force. For now, she knows that attending school prevents her from being isolated from the activities that her children engage in. “When Stephanie started school I had no part in her life at school. Now with what I am learning at Listo, I know what I can do at home to add to my children’s education at school. I am more involved in her learning. Stephanie tells me how glad she is that everyone in the family is attending school!

Matthew Cano Story
I was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder when I was two years old. My parents were told that I would never be able to read or write and I would not be able to complete school. They were also warned that with my serious behaviors and learning disabilities that I would most likely have to be institutionalized by the time I was high school age. This was not acceptable to my parents and they searched for someplace to help me have a chance. Although I had a rough start and have struggled with my behavior and learning disabilities, the foundation for my future came in Head Start.


My Head Start teacher worked with my parents and taught them ways to help me learn and behave around other people. My parents used the things she taught them throughout all my years in school. By the time I reached high school I was no longer requiring the level of Special Education support services that I had needed when I was younger.

Throughout high school I was active in many school activities. I was in the concert choir starting my freshman year. I helped to form the Chess Club during my freshman year and I was captain of the Chess Club for my junior and senior years. During my junior and senior year, I was the Academics Editor for the Yearbook. I was also very involved in the new drama program as a performer, doing lighting and sound direction and set building in every play production. I played the part of Buffalo Bill in “Annie Get Your Gun” and Mr. Parris in “The Crucible” and edited and produced DVDs of several of the plays for the cast members.

Daylen, Payten, and Maysen

Daylen, Payten, and Maysen

I am very determined to graduate from college and be able to work and take care of myself. From Head Start my parents learned the tools to help me grow and learn. From my parents I have learned the same strategies which have helped me in high school and my daily life. I feel ready for the next steps that are ahead of me, I have just completed my first term in college and know I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t gotten a “head start” when I needed it.

Bob and Tiffany are busy parents to their three young children, Daylen (5), Peyton (3) and Maysen (2). They first heard about Early Head Start (EHS) when Daylen was 7 months old. Bob says Daylen has come a long way by being in EHS and now Head Start. “Daylen couldn’t talk until he was three. He really needed the social interaction that EHS provided. He improved year after year. Now in Head Start he is talking a lot and learning a lot”. Daylen, Peyton and Maysen have special needs. They receive services through the Asante early intervention program in partnership with Early Head Start and Head Start.

Peyton and Maysen are enrolled in Early Head Start. Peyton goes to toddler group twice per week and Maysen attends parent/child groups with his parents. Bob thinks that the parent/child group has helped Peyton and Maysen. Bob says, “So many wonderful people at EHS have helped my children learn to trust other people.” Bob says EHS was a big support to their family when Peyton was diagnosed with cataracts at birth – a condition she shares with her need nurturing relationships and rich early learning experiences. Early Head Start helps build strong families who are able to support their child’s healthy development. We also provide the early learning experiences infants and toddlers need to be successful in school and later life. Bob, “but even then we never missed a group at EHS. It is so important to us that we go”. Tiffany has become very involved in Maysen’s development. She keeps a written list of all Maysen’s new words and observations she has made about his progress. Tiffany says, “It’s fun coming to parent/child group with Maysen”.

Both Bob and Tiffany feel they have learned a lot about parenting at EHS. They work hard to make sure their children get the health and dental care they need. Bob is working hard to achieve his dream of being employed. Struggling with his own health needs and being legally blind has been a challenge for Bob. With the support of EHS staff, Bob says “I am getting out a lot more. The Commission for the Blind and Goodwill are helping me get a job. Vicki at EHS helped me find those resources.

Josh's Story


Josh is a very bright Head Start 4 year old with cerebral palsy. Because he cannot walk, he crawls or uses a walker or wheelchair. Before he came to Head Start, Josh had never played with many children his age. When his teacher Trish visited his family before school started, Josh told her, “I don’t know if I want to go to school because I can’t walk.” Trish pointed out all of the things Josh could do at Head Start…make friends, sing, read books and play with blocks. From the first day of school, the Head Start staff was ready to talk about Josh’s disability, but wanted to wait until the children asked. They never did.

The first week of school, as children were looking around their classroom, and hoping to make a friend, a group of boys found a pile of scarves in the dramatic play area. They tied them around their necks to make capes and took off running through the school pretending to be “Super-Heroes”. As one boy was running past Josh he stopped and asked him if he wanted to play. With a giant smile Josh said “yes”. The boy said “Trish, get him a cape!” After Josh’s cape was tied, the boy shouted “Come on!” and ran over to where the other super heroes were waiting. The boy turned around and saw that Josh was crawling after him. Then the boy ran over to Josh and called to his friends, “Come on you guys, we’re Super Dogs!” The boys all dropped to their knees to join Josh and together they all crawled around on the floor.

Josh loves coming to school. He is a child with compassion and a great sense of humor who easily makes friends. He is a boy with lots of will and determination to be as independent as he can. His classmates help him when he needs it without being asked by an adult. Josh’s inclusion in our classroom has benefited and inspired all of us!

Jodi's Story


Four years ago I was making minimum wage and receiving food stamps, rental, daycare, and medical assistance. I enrolled my youngest child in Head Start and thought that it would be a great opportunity to do something to improve our lives. I also enrolled in college and began attending the parent meetings at Head Start because I felt it was important to be involved in my son’s education. The parents elected me to be the Policy Council Representative for our center. Through Policy Council I was elected as State Representative in the Oregon Head Start Association. I learned that even my one vote can make a difference. I traveled to the state capital and met with our State Legislators in an effort to keep Head Start from enduring large budget cuts, and to advocate for fully funding the program. I participated in a large rally on the Capital steps where many influential people spoke in support of the program. The experience taught me that I had a voice, regardless of how much money I made or whether or not I was married, and with that voice, I could affect change. It was an incredible experience for me.

The Head Start staff showered me with support and encouragement. Though it was one of the most difficult things I have ever done, I graduated with honors, as a member of Phi Theta Kappa, and with my name on the National Dean’s List. I earned my Business degree, and with that in hand, I promptly applied for a job with Head Start. I now work in the Finance Department where I earn a living wage and have good benefits. I have also fulfilled my life long dream of home ownership that had always seemed so far beyond my reach before.

The Ruiz family moved to Medford four years ago and Mr. Ruiz began planting trees. Recently he began a new job at Amy’s Kitchen. Zaira was in Head Start when she was four and is now a first grader at White City Elementary School. Her brother Ismael is a fourth grader. Keven is a three year old. Andrea will be applying for Keven to be in Head Start next year. This is the third year at Listo for this family and they have attended 97% of the time. Andrea is a stay at home mom right now, but plans to be

Ruiz Family

“The Ruiz Family”

gin working when Keven starts school. She feels that learning to use the computer will help her to get a good job. She has put in 55 hours of computer time studying English on the laptop she checks out from Listo. Andrea has also learned how to help her children with their homework. Andrea says, “My children love to come to Listo! When there are no classes they all beg to come. My children feel safe here and they love to be at Listo with their friends. I know if we were at home they would just watch TV. Listo is much better for them.

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.

Jarod Goode

“Jarod Goode”

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.

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 ap- proached 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.

Lyn's Story

“Lyn Segundo”

My name is Lyn; I am the proud mother of four beautiful children: Monica 12, Cassandra 10, Miguel 5, and Mariana 3. My story starts in 2003 when I moved to Oregon to start a new life. I moved here with very little money, no job, and no family support. Two months after I got here, I found out that I was pregnant with my son. Two weeks after that, my children’s father was deported to Mexico and never returned. Within 3½ years, I had opened my own daycare
and had my daughter.

Right about this time, Miguel began to have separation anxiety. I started to research preschools and found them to be too expensive, but then a friend told me about Head Start. After submitting my application, both my son and daughter qualified for Early Head Start. We went to class once a week and our family advocate, Maria Elena, came out for home visits two times each month. Maria Elena encouraged me to apply for a job at Head Start, which I was afraid to do. She also talked to me about different parenting styles and ways to help my kids grow.

I finally filled out a job application and was hired as a bilingual center assistant. During this time, my son attended the Early Head Start toddler group for one year and then transitioned into full-day/ full-year Head Start for two years. My daughter was in full-day/full-year Early Head Start for two years, and then transitioned to the toddler group for one year. This year, she goes to Head Start.

It is important to me as a working mom that the people who see my children more often than I do are supportive of my parenting style; I feel that this is the case with Head Start and Early Head Start. The staff members of both programs have helped me raise two very loving, emotionally strong kids. They have given my kids the words to use when they are angry, sad, mad, or happy. They have helped my children to grow independent and to speak up for themselves. I love to listen to Mariana sing songs that she learned at school, or to hear my son say that he loves me with all his heart. All of the people at Early Head Start have done so much for me and my family. Words can’t even express how I feel. THANK YOU all so much. Because of you, I am living my dream of being a bilingual family advocate.

Linzey's Story


Using only her right hand, Linzey gathered cup, milk, and chocolate syrup to create a delicious self-made snack of chocolate milk. She completed this task during head teacher Sara Ross’ initial home visit immediately prior to Linzey entering the Head Start program in Merlin. At that time, Linzey’s left side was recovering from paralysis; she had very little movement or use of her left hand and walked with a defined drag of her left leg.

Throughout her ensuing two years in the Head Start classroom, Linzey displayed this same irrepressible spirit. When she first saw the handrail in the toileting area, she said very matter-of-factly, “I don’t need that. I can do it by myself.” She developed her fine-motor skills, using both hands to do such things as scraping her plate and rolling playdough. With the help of adaptive straps (designed by her occupational therapist) to hold her hand to the handlebar and her foot on the pedal, she began riding a two-wheeled bike, whereas before she had only been able to push a tricycle with her feet.

On top of her own can-do attitude, Linzey has had wonderful support from her mom, Candi Stange. Over her past six years as a Head Start parent, Candi has served in many parent group officer positions and attended parenting classes sponsored by Head Start. She has consistently availed herself of opportunities to increase her parenting skills for both her typically-developing children and for Linzey. Candi and Linzey’s family advocate, Joy May, has “watched Candi grow in both her skills as a parent and as an advocate for her child” over the years.

Recently, when Linzey’s diagnosis was confirmed as cerebral palsy, Candi took the initiative to request a meeting of Linzey’s Head Start team to discuss the diagnosis and how it might effect changes in Linzey’s care. According to head teacher Sara Ross, “Consistent and open communication with Candi has provided the staff with a wealth of information about Linzey’s development and needs, as well as created shared environments at home and at school.”

If only one word could be used to describe the effect that Candi’s dedication and Linzey’s determination have had in the Head Start program, that word would be GROWTH (which is what Head Start is really all about).

The Success of the SLIDE Program at Head Start

Yvonne's Story


Earlier this year, I sought assistance from the JOBS Plus program in overcoming significant barriers to employment. Diann Ferreira and Geri Lane of the Job Council were wonderful resources for me. When they learned of my history as a Head Start parent (four of my children have been enrolled in the program over the years) and my potential with administrative office duties, they suggested the SLIDE program at Head Start as a way to transition to full-time, living-wage employment.

Since coming on board with Head Start as a SLIDE participant, I have had the opportunity to work at numerous agency sites with various staff and supervisors. I am currently an area assistant for the Central Point and Foothills Head Start centers and feel that Head Start’s SLIDE program is giving me the chance to get my foot in the door, to prove myself. At Head Start, I work in a supportive and encouraging environment; I love the people I work with and the fact that the agency’s values mirror my own.

I feel as if I’ve come full circle. Achievements that long ago seemed like wild fantasies are now becoming reality. I am much more calm, mature, and confident than ever before; I have learned to apply myself to become “a better me,” and I really like who I am.

“I would like everyone to know that the SLIDE program is worth it.” – yvonne cox, Slide participant

Melissa's Story


During a routine vision screening at the Rogue River Head Start center, concern arose regarding Melissa’s eyesight. Due to the screening results, Melissa’s mother was referred to an optometrist so that Melissa could receive a complete vision exam. The exam results showed that Melissa had a serious lazy eye condition that was severely blurring her eyesight. Before learning of this condition, Melissa’s mother was concerned that she was clumsy or not paying attention because she ran into things so often. She says that when Melissa got her new glasses in March, however, a whole new world opened up to her. Melissa began to point out things in the distance and say enthusiastically, “I can see that!” Once Melissa started wearing her new glasses, her teacher Judy noticed that Melissa could now sit with the other children at story time instead of sitting right under the book to see it. Melissa is now successfully learning to write her first name and enjoys cutting things out because she can see the lines. Her opportunity for success in kindergarten next year looks very bright. Melissa’s mother expressed her gratitude to the Rogue River staff by saying, “If it wasn’t for Head Start, I probably would have never known my child had difficulties with vision.

Valencia Family Story

“Valencia Family”

Roberto is a first grader at school. He likes Listo because he gets to make books and play soccer. “Tengo muchos amigos aqui. I have a lot of friends here.” His little sister, Rubi, loves her friends in the infant/toddler group. Together, they recently pretended to make a big pot of sopa de papas (potato soup). Rubi’s mom, Sylvia, was impressed by the effort and exclaimed, “Wow! I’ve never made potato soup before!”

Sylvia studies English in the advanced ESL class, has completed her basic adult courses, and is ready to study for her GED. Through her efforts, she has begun to climb the Listo career ladder – she will begin working as a Listo teacher assistant with the infants and toddlers in White City this year. Sylvia’s husband, Leonel Cortez, has also benefited from his participation with Listo. He studied ESL at Listo for one year and is now working full-time as a tree planter, so is unable to attend this year.

“I like the Listo program because it helps the Latino community. I have the chance to bring my children here with me while I study. We can learn English and we work on laptops to get computer skills. Our kids are learning reading and writing while we learn English to improve our communication for work.”

Riley's Story

“Riley and Kristal”

When Kristal enrolled in EHS, she was a pregnant, single mother living with her parents be- cause 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! 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.

“In the future I want to work for EHS because I want to be able to touch someone’s life the way they have touched mine.” — Kristal

Summer's Story


Summer came to Head Start with many serious physical challenges. In the care of her grandparents, at age 3 Summer had already had 8 surgeries. She was born with vertebra fused in her neck and back, and required very special care as any fall could break her neck. Summer’s grand- mother was scared to have Summer go to Head Start because of her needs, but wanted her to have the opportunity to live life to the fullest. With Early Childhood Services, our community partner that serves children with disabilities, Summer’s grandparents and our staff met together to plan for a successful Head Start for Summer. Plans were made to carefully supervise Summer in the play yard and provide safe alternative outdoor experiences for her. A water bottle would be available to her at all times to ensure she would not become dehydrated. Her grandmother agreed to volunteer frequently in the classroom to help.

With this plan in place, Summer started attending Head Start – and she loved it! Karen, her Head Start teacher, describes Summer as a happy and delightful child. “You just can’t be around Summer and not have a great day!” The other children were very accepting of Summer’s special needs and enjoyed her enthusiasm for singing songs and making up stories. When it came time to set goals, Summer’s grandmother asked her what she wanted her goals to be. Summer replied “To make friends!” And so she did. Summer’s grandmother found Sue, her Family Advocate, very helpful in supporting her own adult needs; “She was always there for me”. Summer came to Head Start as a shy little girl with no experience being around other children her age. She left Head Start as a confident, outgoing child who knows how to express her feelings, ask for what she needs and who knows how to make friends. Summer’s excitement in learning was sparked by her Head Start experience and continues on into Kindergarten.

“I think it should be mandatory for all children to go to Head Start – it makes such a big difference in their lives.” — Summer’s grandmother

Cortez-Valle Family's Story

“The Cortez-Valle Family”

The Cortez-Valle family has been in Listo for 4 years. This year four year old Kevin is also attending Head Start at the Merriman Center. His sister Karen is in fifth grade and his brother Christian is in second grade at Howard Elementary School. Kevin’s mother and father, Rosalinda and Antonojenes, are both studying English at Listo. Rosalinda appreciates being able to study at Listo and bring her children. She is also excited about the opportunity to work on a laptop computer to gain computer skills. Her daughter especially benefits from the home- work help she receives at Listo. Her children practice reading Spanish and that helps them learn to be bilingual. Spanish reading also strengthens their English language reading skills and increases their abilities to communicate with their parents.

Jewel's Story


I first learned about Early Head Start at the local DHS office. I had recently given birth to my daughter, Ame, and wanted to continue my college education. I expected to only go to school part-time because I could not afford full-time childcare. Then I saw a flyer about childcare at Early Head Start and asked if I would qualify. There was an opening and no co-pay. I was ecstatic! This meant I could go back to school full-time – it was a huge, huge help. It was hard for me to get used to leaving my daughter, but when I saw she was getting great care I felt secure about leaving her. Ame really enjoyed being at EHS Merriman Center. She met her first friend Brook when they were little babies, and they are still close friends at Head Start four years later. When I became pregnant with my son Jaithen, Ame’s EHS teacher encouraged me to enroll in their parent/child program at EHS West Medford Center. I learned infant massage and the Parent Group helped me get support from other parents. When my son Jaithen was 6 months old he joined his sister in childcare and I continued my education while working full-time as an adult caregiver. Ame was itching to go to Head Start to be with the bigger kids. Her learning ability was full-speed ahead. Six months into Head Start she could write her first and last name.

Her developmental assessments at Head Start showed she was performing at her age level. The academics came more naturally to Ame than physical development, so her teacher Linda and I set goals to increase Ame’s physical skills. Ame and Brook were in the same Head Start class and continued their friendship. Jaithen transitioned into Head Start a year later. Although I was concerned that Jaithen would not listen well, he learned all the words to the Head Start songs and made good progress with his learning.

Head Start was not only supportive of my goals with the kids, but also my personal goal of graduating from college. I applied for, and received, a free computer through Head Start which I really needed to write my papers. I am currently applying for a Head Start scholar- ship. Head Start staff helped with vision screenings and eye doctors. Both Jaithen and Ame needed glasses. According to her doctor, Ame no longer needs glasses for her far-sightedness because her vision issue was identified so early. I talked to my other family members about the importance of vision screening, and now three other kids in my extended family have gotten glasses.

My youngest daughter Citrine is now in the toddler group at EHS. She looks forward to going to school with her teacher Jenifer. Jenifer also makes home visits to our family. We do learning activities together such as making play dough, and talk about Citrine’s development. I also get help with issues I have. Jenifer is helping me create a friendly learning environment for Citrine in my home similar to the EHS classroom to help my husband and I get our work done while she plays and learns nearby. Jenifer has given me ideas about how to create this space with things I already have in my home so I don’t need to buy anything.

Jewel will be graduating from Southern Oregon University in June 2012 with a B.S. in Graphic Design. Ame will start Kindergarten next fall ready-to-learn, and Jaithen and Citrine will be in Head Start.

“I think it’s sad in this country that we put such emphasis on education but we aren’t funding it the way we need to for every- body to get a good education. I wish they had Early Head Start and Head Start available for everyone.” — Jewel supporting pregnancy

Eduardo's Story


Eduardo’s mother recalls when Eduardo started Head Start. On the first day of school Eduardo was going to ride the bus. Since this was a new experience for him, I asked him if he wanted me to go with him, and he said “No”. He was happy to go on the bus by himself, so I let him go. He loves school!

Head Start wants children to go to the dentist. When I took Eduardo to his first appointment they took x-rays and told me many of his teeth had problems. The dentist thought it might be from too much candy and juice. They said most kids have a hard time getting too much dental work completed at one visit, and that he would need several appointments to get everything done. They used cards with pictures to help him understand what they were going to do. When he went to his follow-up appointment for treatment, the doctor and nurse were so surprised because he was relaxed and patient and they were able to complete all the dental work in one visit.

Many of his teeth had been all brown, but now they are all white. I am so happy with the result of Eduardo’s treatment! His teeth don’t look ugly in the front anymore and he is happier.

His teacher Megan reports that Eduardo is back to his favorite classroom activities; playing with airplanes, enjoying books and running outside in the playground with his friends.
I was pregnant with Stephen when I enrolled at the Early Head Start (EHS) Grants Pass Center in September 2010. My son, Michael went to Head Start. I wanted to do home visits only, because it was hard for me to go to group. I would get very anxious in social situations due to my bipolar disorder. Stephen was born two months later. Sheri, the EHS Heath/ Nutrition Manager, was my birth coach. She held my hand and told me what a good job I did. I still have her card in my purse.

Leberly's Story

“Leberly and Stephen”

Diana came to my house each week for our home visit. She helped me get vouchers from Goodwill for clothing and blankets. We had recently moved and did not have much for our apartment. We were eating on the floor because we didn’t have a table. Head Start found us a used kitchen table and chairs. I also got a resource book from EHS and found out where food banks are. I use that book a lot.

It has been so good for me and Stephen to get out of the house to go to EHS and be with other children and parents. Stephen loves to ride the school bus to school. He has learned so much there. Our EHS center was in the Boatnik parade for the first time. Stephen was waving to the crowd. I was so proud of myself for going. I am getting better at being with groups of people. Companionship with the staff is one very important thing. They really care about my family.

This year Stephen attends Toddler Group. His teacher Cecilia reports he was shy at first, but now is happy to be at school and is making new friends. He especially loves the family-style meals, tooth brushing time and playing outside on the slide.

Shane's Story

“Mishell and Shane”

Our family moved to Oregon from California after our house burned down in a fire. Shane suffered a lot of trauma from that experience. I recall Shane’s first year was really hard. Shane couldn’t sit still, he acted out in the classroom and he did not have any friends. Shane’s teacher Aimee was the only person who could get through to Shane. I was overwhelmed as a single parent of four children. Shane was very angry at times which frightened me and I did not know what to do.

Head Start staff encouraged me to go to Jackson County Mental Health to have Shane assessed. They taught Shane tools to learn how to keep himself calm in the classroom. The Family Advocate Kelly always took the time to listen to me and support me in this process. Shane was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). He now sees a doctor and takes medication which is helping him. We have completed Parent/Child Inter- action Therapy together too. Now Shane can sit still which he could never do before. He is now making friends. Shane loves coming to Head Start, and he loves his teacher Aimee.

Shane and I are getting our bond back. Now I am in school taking phlebotomy courses so I can work in a hospital one day. I want to be able to take care of myself and my kids. Now that Shane is doing so much better, I can work on my dreams too.