This October, as the nation celebrates Head Start Awareness Month, I can’t help but reflect on my own Head Start experience, which truly laid the foundation for my future success in grade school, high school, college and ultimately as a successful engineer.
When my mother became a single parent shortly before my first birthday, our family’s circumstances changed drastically— we lost our family home and my mother had to balance motherhood with a full time job. Growing up in a small, two family flat on the eastside of Detroit that my mother and I shared with my aunt and cousin, my family faced difficult economic times in my early years of life.
Unable to afford pre-school, my mother was thrilled when she heard about the opportunity for me to attend the local New Calvary Head Start Agency— today CDI East Detroit. Head Start not only provided safe child care, but the educational and wellness programs ensured that I was academically, socially, and physically ready for the grade school experience.
Today, I have realized my dream of becoming an engineer at the NASA Johnson Space Center.
Inspired by the incredible work being done at Head Start, my mother became a Head Start teacher, ultimately going on to earn her bachelor’s degree in American Sign Language and master’s degrees in early childhood education.The teachers and staff at New Calvary Head Start provided her the important support and guidance she needed to get our family back on a path of self-sufficiency.
I believe that the education and joy for learning that I acquired at a very young age from Head Start started me down the path of higher learning and achieving my career goals. Today, I have realized my dream of becoming an engineer at the NASA Johnson Space Center.
Over the past 50 years, Head Start has helped millions of children and their parents achieve their dreams. So happy Head Start Awareness Month, let’s make every month a celebration as we continue to ensure that all children get the chance I did.