The Martinez-Aguirre Family
Arleth and Scarleth – now, 5-year-old twins – were born two months prematurely to their parents, Deysi and Johnny. The family lives in central Phoenix, relatively isolated, with no family or other support nearby.
Two years ago, Deysi and Johnny made a decision that would improve the entire family’s quality of life: the twins would attend Southwest Human Development’s Head Start program. In addition to providing essential educational services to the girls, Head Start would also help the family build relationships and develop a sense of community with other families participating in the program.
Part of a national initiative to help prepare children for success in school and in life, Southwest Human Development’s Head Start program works with income-eligible families to provide a wide range of educational, health, dental, nutritional and social service resources.
Utilizing the many resources available, Deysi began participating in one of Head Start’s parent support programs, regularly volunteered in the classroom and the entire family developed a nutrition plan to improve their eating habits. The program also helped the family learn how to make sure that their children were ready for kindergarten success and how to sustain their development and learning through third grade.
“I see a difference between them and others not in the program,” said Deysi Martinez, Arleth and Scarleth’s mom. “They’re learning basic skills like being the line leader or the door holder. Other kids don’t know their letters and numbers.”
Today, Arleth and Scarleth have completed Southwest Human Development’s Head Startprogram and are now doing exceptionally well in kindergarten. Deysi continues to take English as a Second Language courses so she will be better prepared to help her children with their school work. By promoting family engagement and school readiness, the program worked hand-in-hand with the family to build trusting relationships that allowed the family to support their children to reach their fullest potential today and far into the future.
“Without Head Start, they wouldn’t have known English and they wouldn’t have a good vocabulary,” added Deysi. “They learned to play with other children and how to socialize with others. They’re excited for kindergarten and love playing with their friends.”