Columbia Sullivan Head Start Success Story

We often hear about how Head Start teachers have made a difference in the lives of the children they teach. A lesser known component of Head Start that positively impacts Head Start families is the family support services provided by the program.  When families receive the support they need, their children are better prepared to succeed in school.

The Harrington* family first became involved with Head Start in Columbia County when their oldest daughter, Madison, started in the program at age three.  At the time, Madison was having a difficult time dealing with her father’s significant medical issues. The Head Start Family Service Worker was instrumental in providing resources and information to Madison’s parents to help her cope with the challenges in her family. The Family Service Worker followed up throughout the year and helped connect the family to networks to help their children deal with the long term medical situation they were facing. Madison’s mother, Kalena, credits the Family Service Worker with helping provide the support Madison needed so she could thrive at Head Start and beyond.

Two years later when a Family Service Worker position opened up at Head Start, Kalena, who had an associate degree in Social Sciences, jumped at the chance to apply. Kalena was hired and soon became an expert in teaching positive behavior techniques to the Head Start parents she worked with. When the Harrington’s younger daughter, Amy, entered Head Start a year later and was diagnosed with significant social emotional needs, the positive behavior techniques Kalena had learned as a Head Start employee greatly benefitted her family at home as well.

Eight years later, Amy and Madison are excelling in school, and Kalena continues to work for Head Start and is an expert instructor for the agency’s positive parenting workshops. Kalena has even decided to pursue her bachelor’s degree and takes classes part time at Bloomsburg University.  The support and training the family has received through Head Start has had a valuable impact on all of their lives.

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