The Eastern Shore of Virginia Gets a Head Start
Updated: Jan 14
Currently, Jose Enriquez is the Family Services Coordinator at the ECMHSP Parksley Center. The ECMHSP Parksley Head Start Center is special because it’s ECMHSP’s only center that serves two states, which are Virginia and Maryland. Work done by our farmworker families in the Eastern Shore include: the production and harvesting of tree crops, field crops, nursery crops, eggs, poultry, fish, seafood, and the care of farm animals.
Jose was born in Veracruz, Mexico. At the age of 13, he settled with his parents in Virginia. From a very young age, he saw how hard both of his parents worked in the tomato fields for over five years, so he decided to make them proud. His excellent grades allowed him to finish high school as the sixth best ranking student. He always knew that he would pursue a career that gave back to his community. Now, as a part of the ECMHSP family, he makes a difference every day.
Making new friendships during the first day of the season!
Jose has lived in the Virginia Eastern Shore area since he was a child, so families rely on him for crucial information about services. “From the enrollment process, we are the face of the center. If we don’t give a good impression, then parents won’t trust us,” says Jose. The ECMHSP Parksley Center opened on Tuesday with 19 children. Jose shares that families need Head Start services to be extended for additional weeks. Currently, this center operates between June and November. However, when the center closes, farmworker families struggle to find a place that provides similar services for their children. Jose is determined to increase enrollment of farmworker families and hopefully extend the center’s season.
The children enjoy the nutritious meals provided by our amazing ECMHSP staff.
Jose points out that one of their most important partnerships is with the Eastern Shore Rural Health System, Inc. These clinics have outreach workers that provide assistance to families and even help transport them to their doctor’s appointments. They are constantly in contact with the families and are very responsive to the farmworker community.
When farmworker families migrate to Maryland and Virginia’s Eastern Shore, they know they can count on the Parksley Center to provide them with the lifeline into the community to meet their families’ needs. Jose, along with the Parksley Center staff are committed to making a difference, one smiling child at a time.