Making life changing connections with Head Start

Yesenia Monterroza, a single mom of 2 boys who have been part of Early Head Start and Head Start program shares how this program has no only made a difference in the lives of her children but also in her personal and professional life.

One of the proudest moments for Yesenia Monterroza is the day her son made a poster for her that read, “Vote for my mom. She is amazing.” He encouraged her to run for vice chair of her Head Start parent committee and today she is the chair leading BakerRipley Spring Branch center.

Yesenia came to this country fleeing family violence in El Salvador and the thought of her running for this type of position would have never crossed her mind. She came to this country looking for a better life. Yesenia enrolled her first born in our early Head Start program and that was the beginning of something great. “Getting connected changed by life 360 degrees,” she says when describing her experience with the program. Yesenia lights up when she speaks of the program and the difference it has made with her children. She says the program does not just offer quality education but has also thought her children values, respect and how to be sensitive to others. Her children have also learned leadership skills that they will be able to use in the future. Her older son has been at the top of his class and served as his teacher’s assistant.

Yesenia has taken advantage of every opportunity that has come her way. She has taken parenting, nutrition as well as cooking classes. Yesenia was also connected to Neighborhood Center’s immigration team and received orientation on her legal status.

Yesenia is a model parent who understands the importance of program and actively engages other parents to be involved. She supports in every aspect possible from volunteering in the classroom, leading parent meetings and assisting teachers/staff in a number of ways. She was instrumental in leading a parent initiative to open a library aimed at increasing family literacy in her community. Through her volunteerism she was able to complete her Child Development Associate (CDA) course.

At BakerRipley we want to start children strong and keep them strong. And we want to do the same for parents. Yesenia is just one example of how connections support individual aspirations.