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Guest Post: Community Outreach in Alabama

Written by Sandra Hernandez, ECMHSP Family Community Partnership Specialist for the Alabama Region.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business.  Sandra has eight years’ experience working for the migrant community at the Mexican Consulate and at a community health center.


Left to right: Tami Culver, Deputy Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, Sandra Hernandez, ECMHSP Family Community Partnership Specialist, and Jenny Guzman, ECMHSP Director of Programs Operations. 

On June 10th, Jenny Guzman, Director of Programs Operations, and I, met with Tami Culver, Deputy Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and the Commissioner, Rick Pate.  They were both very kind to us and extremely resourceful.  Mrs. Culver has agreed to collaborate with East Coast Migrant Head Start Project to connect us with other agencies that can lead us to explore new service areas.

The objective of our meeting was to reach new Alabama families working in agriculture, nurseries, especially those harvesting fish and seafood.  These families work from sun up to sun down and often face difficulties to find a safe place for their children while they’re working.  The Deputy Commissioner was very interested in the overview of our Head Start program, which demonstrated that we provide more than childcare services to children as young as six weeks until they’re ready for a successful transition to kindergarten.  Our presentation included information about the health, nutrition, and family support services we offer at no cost to those who qualify.

The same day we met, Tami Culver introduced us to the Director of the Farmers Market Authority (FMA), Mr. Don Wambles.  The FMA assists in the marketing of agricultural products by providing information, leadership, and modern facilities necessary to move agricultural products from the farm to the consumer.  He has plenty of connections that will aid our community outreach efforts.

Coloring books donation

At the conclusion of our meeting, we were surprised and grateful to receive a donation of 400 coloring books that will be distributed to our Alabama centers!  Our families will take them home for their children as part of the educational remote services.  Through these community partnerships, we look forward to enrolling additional families that work every day so we can have fresh veggies and fruits on our plates.

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