Pandemic Challenges Provoke Growth

Home-based Head Start Success Story

Note: Names and details have been changed to ensure client confidentiality.

With seven children ranging from age one to fifteen, Mary had her hands full long before COVID-19. The pandemic added another layer of challenges on top of her already difficult daily routine.

When Mary’s older children moved to remote learning, she found herself incredibly more active in their education. In her visits with Virgina, her TFC Head Start home visitor, Mary shared her challenges, especially the difficulties she faced trying to navigate the demands of virtual learning without being able to speak English.

When Mary immigrated to the United States 17 years ago, she had plans to learn English and invest in her education. As her family grew, they became her priority and she put her own goals on pause.

Then, adding to the already challenging pandemic environment, Mary’s husband got sick. With him out of work and unable to advocate for their children and communicate with the school and teachers, Mary decided it was time to evolve.

When many would be consumed by growing challenges, Mary rose to the occasion. She asked Virginia where she could find help. Virginia found a free English as a second language (ESL) program at Don Bosco and helped Mary enroll. Virginia also helped Mary develop a plan for managing her busy schedule and finding time for her classes.

Mary has been attending virtual classes Mondays to Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for 20 months and is set to graduate from the program in March 2022. Shortly after enrolling in the ESL program, Mary learned about a GED program at Johnson County Community College she began pursuing that as well. She has now passed three of the four GED exam subjects.

With her new skills Mary is able to be more hands-on in her older children’s education, and now that she is close to completing her GED, she is working with Virginia on setting new goals for herself and her family.

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