On Wednesday, East Coast Migrant Head Start Project had the pleasure of hosting the newly-appointed Director of the Office of Head Start, Dr. Deborah Bergeron for a visit of our North Carolina Head Start centers. Dr. B –as she likes to be called—was eager to learn about the Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) program, and ECMHSP staff and parents were excited to showcase the high-quality and comprehensive Head Start services we offer at our MSHS centers.
Dr. Bergeron playing guitar for the children, as Omar admires her talent.
The day began at the ECMHSP’s MSHS center in Faison, North Carolina, where staff focused on school readiness. Two parents at the center shared with Dr. B their experience receiving Head Start services from ECMHSP and how those services have prepared their children to succeed in the public school system. The visit then continued into the preschool classroom, where Dr. B entertained the children with her guitar and her song, “Reach for the Stars” (sung to the tune of La Bamba). All of the children enjoyed the opportunity to sing and dance, but none more so than Omar, who did a special pogo dance of appreciation. Afterwards, the visit continued to Cottle Farms, where Ron Cottle provided a tour of his operations, and then drove through and by farmworker housing. The housing conditions for farmworker families made quite an impression on Dr. B.
Next, the visit continued at the ECMHSP’s MSHS center in Newton Grove, where Hortencia Montalvo, Center Cook, and Elizabeth Vega Velasquez, Center Cook Assistant, prepared a delicious lunch for the special guests. Community partners were also invited to the lunch, at which they shared their experience partnering with ECMHSP in the areas of health, dental services, nutrition, and mental health services. Following the lunch, Dr. B was provided with a tour of our local federally-qualified health clinic.
Dr. Bergeron with ECMHSP parent, Gloria Castillo, who’s also a member of our Policy Council.
The day ended at the ECMHSP MSHS center in Angier. Again, two parents, one which is a farmworker DREAMer, shared their experience and joined us as we visited the center’s classrooms. We provided a life changing experience for Dr. Bergeron and in her weekly communication with her OHS staff, Dr. Bergeron observed that “in one day I got to get a sense of the Migrant Head Start experience from the family, farmer, center, and community partner perspective. It was a 360 degree view for sure!”