Nurturing Early Development at Head Start

Published in our 2015 Annual Report.

For Tommie Vassel, spending the morning at Head Start isn’t just about teaching kids their letters and numbers; it is about nurturing their holistic development, equipping them with the skills they need for success and giving them hope for a bright future.

‘Impacting kids at an early age is critical for their success,’ Tommie believes.

As a twelve-year veteran and current chairman of the Catholic Charities Board of Directors, Tommie knows firsthand the importance of our many diverse programs and services that care for the most vulnerable.

“Impacting kids at an early age is critical for their success,” Tommie believes. “That’s why the Catholic Charities Head Start program is so important in developing the future leaders of our community.”

Giving back is a priority for Tommie, especially through mentoring. “One time, a woman came up to me and said, ‘I know you!’” Tommie shares of an experience with a person he did not initially recognize. “Then she said ‘you taught me to read!’ She was a child I worked with, while volunteering in a school, who will soon graduate from college.”

The rewarding experience resonated with Tommie: “we never fully know the impact we have on others.”

Tommie goes on to discuss another Catholic Charities program, “Padua House, for example, makes such an impression on you. It’s touching to see how critical the services we provide are for these children and leads you to wonder where they would be if not for Catholic Charities.”

Catholic Charities is a first responder during disasters and a forever responder through our ongoing work. “Where there’s a need, we’re there,” Tommie praises the all-inclusive organization structure. “Following the footsteps of Jesus on a daily basis, Catholic Charities nurtures the downtrodden, people who have fallen upon hard times.”

Whether providing for poor, helping those who have fallen or giving kids a head start for success, Catholic Charities is a community partner, impelled by Christ’s call, to support life and give hope.