SEGUIN, TX – In Head Start classrooms operated by BCFS Education Services, 3- and 4-year-olds learn the alphabet, practice new vocabulary words and prepare to hit the ground running when they start Kindergarten. But surprisingly, learning opportunities outside the classroom – in the lives of Head Start parents – are also making a profound impact on the family’s quality of life and future.
Two mothers of Head Start students in Seguin recently graduated English as a Second Language (ESL) classes recommended by BCFS Education Services staff. Since acquiring new English language skills, Ms. Hernandez and Mrs. Garcia have celebrated promotions at work and boosted their income potential.
Jhanirca Velez Ramos, a Family Specialist for BCFS Education Services, referred Ms. Hernandez and Mrs. Garcia to the Seguin ISD’s ESL classes after conducting a needs assessment. Both moms told Jhanirca they wanted to learn to speak English.
“We use the family assessments to establish goals to improve the family dynamic,” says Ramos. “If a parent would like to earn their GED, for example, I provide them information and directions for how to obtain it. I encourage them to follow through. I make myself available and follow up throughout the school year if needed. My real passion is empowering people.”
After working at a local restaurant for 10 years, Ms. Hernandez was finally offered a promotion. “I didn’t want to accept the job because I didn’t know much English,” she explains. “I wanted to learn a bit more English first and then accept the position.”
In mid-May, she graduated her ESL classes and accepted the promotion to serve as a Team Lead. She doesn’t plan on stopping there. “I want to go back and learn even more,” Ms. Hernandez says, “because I’d like to move up another position at work.”
Mrs. Garcia, another local mother of four, always wanted to learn English. She picked up some phrases from her kids, or from hearing other people speak, but had never taken English classes.
“I want to be able to help my kids with their homework, and develop myself more, and not struggle so much,” said Mrs. Garcia. “It’s beautiful to know how to speak both languages.”
Mrs. Garcia, who works independently as a maid, hopes to use her new English skills to open her own cleaning business.
“I want to gain my commercial license so that I can clean government buildings or stores,” she says. “To be able to expand and make my business official.”
Both mothers are grateful for the help that BCFS Education Services has provided.
“Head Start has helped us a lot,” said Mrs. Garcia. “My daughter has learned a lot in the classes, and it helped us learn how to be better parents. Everything (in Head Start) is very good, very organized. (Jhanirca Ramos) is always motivating us and pushing us to go further.”
For more information about BCFS Education Services Head Start, visit DiscoverBCFS.net/HeadStart.
BCFS Education Services is part of a global system of health and human service non-profit organizations led by BCFS, focused on boosting educational readiness and outcomes in the classroom, as well as ensuring families have the resources, tools and information needed to start their children’s lifetime of learning off on the right foot.