Check out this video created by the Michigan Department of Education. Showcased in the video are some of NEMCSA’s Early Childhood educators working at Midland’s Longview Early Childhood Center.
“Head Start Changed My Kids’ Lives”!
“It was an eye-opening experience. It’s been life-changing for both of my kids. I will be Head Start’s advocate!”
By Frances Whitney, Outreach and Communication Coordinator
Recently I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Jennifer Lopez, current Head Start Policy Council Chair and NEMCSA board member. Our discussion was not about the administrative side of agency programs, but about her passion for the Head Start program and the life-changing events that took place after she enrolled both her son and daughter.
Ms. Lopez first heard about the program from her son’s doctor. Jennifer’s son was having a hard time staying focused, and the doctor thought that the Head Start program could help with socialization skills. Jennifer quickly enrolled her little boy. After one year in the preschool program, she was amazed at his behavioral difference. He was much calmer and better able to interact with his peers.
During this time, Jennifer was asked to sit on the Policy Council and within a short time she was selected as chair. Policy Council is a group of parents and community members that are elected at the center level to participate in decision and policy making of the NEMCSA Early Childhood programs. They also act as the voice for the parents. Jennifer was selected by her peers to be one of the three Policy Council representatives on NEMCSA’s governing Board of Directors. This was a position she readily accepted.
As soon as Jennifer’s daughter was old enough, she was enrolled in the Head Start program. “For my daughter, Head Start was not just a preschool program, it allowed my daughter to see.” Jennifer thought her daughter had a short attention span, but when she was encouraged to have her vision tested, the results were profound. Her daughter needed glasses, which was something Jennifer had not even thought of doing for her daughter. “It was an eye-opening experience. It’s been life-changing for both of my kids. I will be Head Start’s advocate!”
....and then there is this story that was submitted by another Policy Board member:
"...I can spend the rest of my life, trying to express the impact, this organization has had on my life.Then still, not be able to articulate all the words necessary, to describe all the positive effect(s) such a wonderful place has to offer."
As a member of the Policy Council, I do not consider this a job, but more as a privilege. To be able to help make decisions, that could benefit the lives of others, is an honor that cannot be expressed in words.It makes me feel like I can return some of what has been given to me, to my fellow community members, with all the kindest, unbiased, and most beneficial intentions in mind.
I always elevate my level of understanding, by combining everything I ever learned, know and care about. Then take all parties opinions into consideration.
Before making sound decisions, that are in the best interest of everyone involved. Out of all the other agencies involved in similar work, at least of all the ones I am familiar with.I believe we possess the highest, common and moral standards, for all the people we serve.
Through this organization, I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the wisest, and most thoughtful people I will ever meet...
I am always able to see myself in every representative, who I speak with.Because they connect with me, on a personal level, without crossing any boundaries.
Overall, people in general find it very comforting, to be able to relate to others who are try to offer, or receive, help in such sensitive areas of life.
To make people feel safe and free to speak openly, is a unique ability and fine art, that should always be practiced. So we are able to know more about each other, and how to make adaquetly advise the proper adjustments or actions, when and where they are needed.I know if everyone actually knew about everything we could really do, with all the resources we have available. We could most definatly pave a way to decrease poverty, reduce stress, and create opportunities, for people of any race, gender, or status that nobody else would have ever thought of.
To be able to help anyone, regardless of their situation or circumstances, is not only a responsibility, that should be respected. But also an art, that should be nourished, as everyone person we encounter, is going to be different in their own way.By listening to what everyone has to say, we not only can help them In ways they might not even be aware of, but we could also learn new things. I would like to say that this organization is the best, a 10 out of 10. We do a lot of things right, and whatever goes not as well, I like to believe it was for the right reasons. No matter how good we can ever be, there will always be room for improvement.
I can already see, just in the time I been here. That in some areas where we exhibit a weakness. Is the same across the board. In every other place. This is not a coincidence. I know from experience, sometimes the only thing we need to change, is our approach to a situation. It's not that the system isn't working, or the ideas are bad. There is no doubt we have more than enough resources, and the best and brightest among us, to be able assist anyone who really needs it.
Sometimes we just need to humble ourselves, and put ourselves into someone else's shoes, without violating any boundaries, in order to have a greater understanding for each person or situation. Nobody with a stable mind, can honestly expect to raise anyone to up a few levels, without being able to see them from their level first. Before interfering with anyone's life, one should alway be fully aware of everything, from all sides, before knowing how to properly infuse any opinions, suggestions or corrective actions. After all things considered, there will never be enough days or years that could ever pass, where I would be able to fully express my appreciation for the authority that has been entrusted to me. The very least I can do is offer my service in all the within my ability, to make the things we already have even better.
Sincerely a truly dedicated public servant.
-Submitted by a dedicated public servent, and parent of children that participated in MMCAA's Early Childhood Services. Mid-Michigan Community Action Agency (MMCAA) is NEMCSA’s delegate. NEMCSA receives the grant funds and MMCAA administers Head Start programs in Clare and Gladwin counties.