By Christina Burghard
*Featured in BCFS’ annual together magazine
Julie Garcia and Jalie Carrasco are a dynamic mother-and-daughter team. Julie is a single mom to sweet little Jalie, a 4-year-old student in BCFS Education Services’ Head Start program. Julie and Jalie have unwavering faith in one another as Jalie bravely battles leukemia.
Julie was confident about enrolling her daughter in Head Start and felt blessed when she was accepted. Several of Julie’s nieces and nephews attended Head Start in prior years, so she knew it would be the perfect environment for her daughter.
Before cancer hit her little world, Jalie was excelling in school and mom Julie was enthusiastic about her bright future. Unfortunately, after the diagnosis, numerous rounds of chemotherapy and exhausting treatments, Jalie’s little body was worn out and she wasn’t quite the same spirited little girl.
Julie said, “that’s where Head Start came in and saved her! She developed her social skills again, had the joy of singing her ABCs and other pre-K songs again, and overall built back her confidence and love for school. Head Start gave me peace and joy in my heart that my daughter’s world was coming back together and she was where she always loved to be – in school.”
On days that were especially difficult, when Jalie wasn’t feeling well, her teachers showed Jalie and her mother love and encouragement that made her feel like everything was going to be okay. That meant the world to Julie.
“Head Start is a great start to a bright future. With small class sizes, there is more time and attention for each child in all areas,” said Julie.
Throughout their journey, Julie has passionately advocated for her daughter. Her goal is for Jalie to feel encouraged, always reach for the stars, remember that school is important, and always help a friend in need.
“Head Start helped me in such a great way,” said Julie. “Especially when your life has changed in a moment due to your child having a life-threatening disease… As a single mother you always feel like you are forgetting something or you are running behind, but when your child is in an environment where they have your back, Jalie has nothing to fear.”
Update as of November 2015
According to Julie, Jalie’s mom, Jalie has been doing phenomenal in and out of school. She is involved in dance and is expecting to be a big sister on New Year’s Eve. Julie said that she is able to do more physical things this year and dance is her favorite activity at the moment. There is one more year of chemotherapy treatment that is predicted for her which is huge progress. Jalie still asks how her friends are doing in Floresville and hopes to soon visit her old classmates at school one day. Julie thanked us again for all of our support throughout last year and hopes we are all doing well.
Ann M. Osborn, Program Director for BCFS Education Services