Brittany Jones, a mother of one of our Head Start graduates, shared the following testimony of her experience with Catholic Charities:
My relationship with CCANO began before my son was born because my mom worked for Catholic Charities Head Start centers for years. Never did I think, though, that I would be in need of their services, but as the saying goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
In 2012, I first applied to and was accepted into nursing school. During the application process, each student candidate had to go through an interview process. One of the questions that stuck out to me was, “Who is your support system?” At the time, I did not understand why that question was important. Now, I realize just how necessary a support system is to success, and I am proud to say that Catholic Charities Head Start centers’ staff members have become a part of my own personal success, as well as that of my son.
During my second semester of nursing school, I dropped out because I was 6 months pregnant and exhausted. After Rylee was born, I experienced a bout of postpartum depression but ultimately decided that going back to school was best for both of us. When I decided to re-enroll, I had no clue as to how I would work out childcare.
In 2014, Rylee started at the Uptown Head Start. He cried so much that I was embarrassed and held on to him tightly until Miss Sue came to me and said, “Don’t worry about him; we’ve got him.” I can honestly say, they’ve “had” him ever since. From Leslie with Ms. Sue and Ms. Nanny to St. John to St. Paul with Ms. Donna, Ms. Demitra, Ms. Artisha, Ms. Johnson, Ms. Ashley, and Ms. Meijia, my family advocates, my cooks, and administration – they have all surpassed my expectations. Rylee is writing, identifying sight words, communicating in complete sentences, and interacting with others, exceeding the many goals that I etched out at the beginning of each school year.
This program understands that it’s more difficult for a child to succeed when that child’s household basic needs are not being met. You all have offered resources that assist with bills, budgeting, dietary education, counseling, entire family health and wellness, and more without ever asking for a single dime. You all have an exceptional group of educators and amazing, supportive ancillary staff. You became a part of my support system when I needed it the most, and I was comforted by the fact that each day when I left my child with you, I knew that he was in capable, caring hands. Without you, I’m not sure that I would be standing here today as a baccalaureate-prepared registered nurse employed at the only level 1 trauma center In the region. Thank you.