“My experience with United Children and Family Head Start started two and half years ago. I was a parent volunteer. I served on Policy Council and on the Male Involvement Sub-committee. Now, I work for UCFHS as the male involvement support worker.
At the time, I was a re-entering citizen and started coming to Head Start with my step-son. I’ve always been a family-oriented guy, but I didn’t always know how to be that family-oriented guy. Head Start helped clear my vision.
I didn’t have a clue what Head Start was, but they welcomed me into the program. They saw my interest and kept giving me opportunities to be involved and learn. It showed me they cared about me and my family. I learned that I have something to give as a dad, as a spouse, as a neighbor. Head Start laid the foundation for all that – they gave it to me step-by-step.
As I was reading about the fatherhood initiative – reading about the state of America’s fathers, I realized it’s not just me going through this. We don’t sit down and talk about being a parent or about child development. I learned the importance of parent leadership and I learned how to guide instead of just discipline.
As my time as a parent volunteer was ending with my son getting ready to go to kindergarten and before I knew that I would have a job with Head Start, I started writing a book. It was because of what Head Start had gave me that I was able to write my feelings down, share my struggles and what I’ve learned.
Now, I’m a staff member, on the other side of staff-parent relationship. I’m working to connect with other fathers like me. I want to connect with fathers to let them know it’s not just them and that there’s a pathway to be different. They can do it too.”