Angelica Siminano began her Head Start journey 20 years ago when her mother enrolled her in the program at 4 years-old. As one of the first members of her family to come to the United States, Angelica credits Head Start for giving her the skills she needed to excel in grade school, and for helping her mother adjust to their new life in America.
Angelica’s mother was very involved with her educational development when she attended Head Start. She made time to volunteer in the classroom and took advantage of the opportunity to participate in her class activities. Angelica remembers how much it meant to have the support of her mother during her learning process, and it is why she followed in her footsteps as her own children were enrolled in Head Start.
Angelica’s 10 year-old son graduated from the program in 2010, and her 3 year-old daughter is currently in the Early Head Start program, hoping to continue in the Head Start program in the fall. Having one Head Start graduate and one child currently enrolled has given Angelica the opportunity to make a living for her family with the peace of mind that her daughter is in a healthy environment, receiving the same quality teaching that she and her son received.
“Without the Head Start program, I think it would be difficult for me to go to work, it would be difficult for me to follow-up on what she’s learning, being confident that she’s in a safe place,” Angelica said.
Angelica works at a bank and just finished her last courses to earn an Associate’s Degree at Southwestern College. She has a very busy schedule, but keeping track of how her children are doing in school is a priority for her. She is a member of the Head Start Policy Council, an organization of parents that make policy and program planning decisions, and she appreciates all of the opportunities the program gives her to stay involved.
Because of her high level of involvement, and her personal experiences, Angelica believes Head Start is much more than a childcare service. She knows how much the teachers and staff truly care about the children, and she appreciates the additional social services and evaluations the program provides. These services were particularly helpful to her son, who was able to deal with some of his issues before he entered kindergarten.
“He had some difficulties, and they caught them at an early age. He had some behavioral problems, and we worked through it,” she said.
Angelica has benefitted from Head Start since she was a child, and she is glad she has been able to pass the gift of education along to her own children. From helping her and her mother prepare for life in the United States, to giving her children structure and quality teaching, to allowing her the opportunity to work and go to school, Head Start has been a vital piece of Angelica’s life. She is thankful for all of her Head Start experiences.
“I’m grateful for it. And not just Head Start, but all the programs that they offer, it’s great. It gives you so many chances to succeed,” Angelica said.