The Importance of Head Start and Early Head Start in Puerto Rico
The Foundling operates 44 Head Start and Early Head Start Centers across Puerto Rico, reaching nearly 1,500 students and families each year. From hurricanes and earthquakes to the pandemic, their spirit, determination, and drive remain strong. Learn about the impact the program has had on Bianca – one of our parents – and how she went from benefiting from Foundling services to volunteering on the parent council of Head Start.
“Parents are the teachers in the long run,” noted Betzaida Gonzalez, Child Development and Education Manager, “and now more than ever, we are walking hand in hand with students, parents, grandparents, and extended families. We’re giving them not only the school supplies and household essentials they’ve needed throughout the pandemic, but also serving as a foundation of support.”
For many families, including Bianca’s (featured in the photo above), the ongoing phone calls, text messages, emails, and support from Head Start teachers and staff this year has represented yet another instance of how The Foundling has continually provided her and her family with the ability to stand tall in times of uncertainty.
Bianca, now a mother of three, came to The Foundling’s Early Head Start Center in San Juan when she learned she was pregnant with her first son, Kermitt. She received pre-natal guidance and encouragement throughout her entire pregnancy, and when her son was born, received support and resources she needed as a new mom.
She later returned to The Foundling’s Head Start Center with questions and concerns about Kermitt and meeting all of his developmental milestones. Working in partnership with Head Start specialists, Bianca learned that Kermitt had mild attention deficit challenges. Kermitt began to receive the services and help he needed to succeed in school. Now 10 years old, Kermitt is on the Honor Roll in school, and Bianca’s two younger daughters are currently receiving support and services through Head Start as well – and throughout the pandemic, they’ve enjoyed participating in video lessons and home-based projects.
Bianca’s children are thriving today—and she is too. In fact, Bianca has become an assistant teacher in her community and remains involved with The Foundling as the Secretary of the Head Start Parent Council.
Want to learn more? Read recent updates on our Head Start and Early Head Start programs: