It All Started with Head Start

In 2012, Jeanny was pregnant, living in a shelter with her two children.  Months before, the children’s father was sentenced for a crime and sent to jail.  Her family could no longer pay rent and soon became homeless.   At the shelter, she realized she needed to find a job and stabilize her family.   In 2013, Jeanny enrolled her 3 year old and her newborn at Community Action’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs.   Knowing that her children were in a safe, caring environment renewed her hope and gave her the opportunity to build a future.

Jeanny’s parent child advocate encouraged her to join the Head Start policy council.  She appreciated that her contributions and time influenced decisions and policies that affect her children, their education and her family.  Head Start staff invited her to take part in a transportation training program.  Jeanny lacked self-confidence at first, but once the training started, she immediately showed a belief in herself, her new job and her family’s future.  Soon, she was encouraged to apply for a position in the transportation department at Community Action.   Starting as a long-term bus monitor, she was able to work with children and learn from her supervisor and the bus drivers.  “I loved being a monitor,” she said.  Jeanny asked lots of questions and soon was given the opportunity to train as a bus driver.  Community Action started Jeanny in an intensive practical training program, where she learned about child safety and bus equipment.

Jeanny passed her CDL exam and was hired by Community Action full-time making a living wage.  She applied for housing assistance and found support with the HomeBase program.   After living in the shelter for a year, Jeanny decided to stay in Haverhill and moved her family into an apartment within walking distance to Head Start and her new job.  She has stabilized her family and is able to pay rent on her own.  “This is the perfect job.  I am always with my kids.  That is the most important thing,” she said.  Jeanny is grateful for her new job and how helpful Community Action staff  have been.  Her children are thriving in school and looking forward to the holidays.  Her son told her “ this is going to be the best Christmas ever”.