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A Head Start in a Field of Dreams

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The Adams County MSHS Center Field of Dreams is located near the heart of South Central Pennsylvania’s “Fertile Crescent” growth area.  The center is operated by PathStone, an ECMHSP Delegate Agency contracted to provide migrant and seasonal Head Start services in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  The countryside encompasses some of the East Coast’s most productive agricultural areas.  Our farmworker families work with apples, pears, grapes, stone fruits, picking and packing flowers, nursery crops, packing eggs, poultry, and caring for farm animals.

Last week, the four selected participants of the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association’s 2018 summer internship program had the opportunity to visit the center that currently serves 59 children.  Childhood memories filled their heads as they walked into the center.  More than 15 years ago, they were the same kids that today were getting a head start at the Adams County MSHS Center Field of Dreams.

Erika Aguilar

ECMHSP is a proud supporter of the NMSHSA summer internship program, which provides paid internships each year for four college students who previously participated in the MSHS program, such as Erika Aguilera.  “Visiting the Migrant Head Start Center brought me so many flashbacks of when I was a little girl dipping my fingers in paint and learning my 123’s.  When I saw the babies and toddlers, I was excited for their future and the potential they all have,” Erika said.  As a child, Erika was enrolled in a MSHS program operated by Agri-Business Child Development, a former ECMHSP delegate agency.

Julian Martinez

Julian Martinez, another participant of the NMSHSA summer internship program had a lot to say about his visit to Adams County.  “Going to PathStone in Pennsylvania was eye-opening and awe-inspiring.  My visit was remarkable because as I sauntered into the first classroom, my mind flooded with memories of being a child again and going to my center in Texas with teachers who cared for me as their own and classmates who became lifelong friends.  The experience was eye-opening because it showed me how fortunate I was to have been able to attend a center where I was cared for and protected from the fields filled with dangerous pesticides and farm equipment,” said Martinez.

The interns were not the only ones impacted by the visit.  ECMHSP’s dedicated staff were reminded how important the high-quality education provided at ECMHSP MSHS centers is in preparing these children for success.  These four NMSHSA interns are headed towards bright futures and show us that Head Start works!  The 2018 visit to the Adams County MSHS Center Field of Dreams, was a great way for them to end a summer filled with life-changing experiences.  ECMHSP looks forward to hosting the next class of summer interns, and wish the Field of Dreams center a great season!

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