You’re Never Too Young to Want to Be President

As Joe Biden was sworn in as the nation’s 46th president just before noon E.T. on Wednesday, January 20th, Ratchford B (Oneonta, AL) teacher Ashley Chumley led her Preschool Head Start class of three- and four-year-olds in a history lesson.

Children in Ashley Chumley’s Ratchford B classroom watch the Joe Biden inauguration ceremony

Ashley and teacher assistant Claudia Zamora led the students in conversations about being a President, such as where they live, some of the things they do as president, and how they keep us safe.

The children were shown photos of all presidents from past to present as well as an image the White House. Ashley reported that the children were visibly excited to be able to watch Mr. Biden become President while they watch. The children were asked to help make a list of what makes a good president:

Ratchford B children made a list of what traits help to make a good president

After the inauguration, the children were asked what would they do if they were President. Some answers included, “Go to Walmart and buy some flags,” “Dance with my dog,” and “Watch a big TV.”

Children shared what they would do if they were president through dictation and artwork

Families who are interested in applying for Ratchford Early Head Start (ages birth to 3) or Preschool Head Start (ages 3 to 5) may contact the center at (205) 625-6254, or visit us online at CAPNA Children’s Services.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (to Recruit)

The winter holiday season is for most a time spent with family, sharing home cooked meals, and shopping for gifts. For Head Start staff, it is also a time to connect with the community and recruit families for Early Head Start and Head Start.

Ft. Payne Head Start staff prepare to participate in the 2020 Ft. Payne Christmas parade

Center Director Theresa Dalton (Ft. Payne) and her staff participated in a Recruitment & Community Involvement event last December by entering a float in the Ft. Payne Christmas parade to get the word out to families that Head Start recruiting season lasts all year. As the parade moved through the downtown streets, members of the Ft. Payne team walked alongside their school bus-themed float and passed out recruitment flyers while others rode atop the float, throwing candy and greeting parade spectators from the DeKalb County town of about 14,000 people.

Center Director Theresa Dalton (front) and staff prepare to participate in the Ft. Payne Christmas parade

Families interested in Ft. Payne Early Head Start (ages birth to 3) or Preschool Head Start (ages 3 to 5) can call (256) 845-9176 for Preschool Head Start or (256) 845-5951 for Early Head Start, or visit us online to complete an application at CAPNA Children’s Services.

“Be the Light” Event Supports Moulton Head Start Families

Center Director Edie Dugger organizes home energy efficiency kits for distribution to families

Moulton Head Start rallied the community during their December Be the Light event as vital fire safety information, equipment, and assistance was shared with area families with low incomes.

Moulton Head Start Center Director Edie Dugger and Assistant Center Director Carolyn Brackin Orr sought and received support from community leaders to provide participating families with items such as high efficiency light bulbs, smoke detectors, power surge protectors, flashlights, and lamp.

Moulton Assistant Center Director Carolyn Brackin Orr prepares for the center’s Be the Light event

During the Be the Light event alone, more than 50 energy assistance applications were distributed to local families. Thanks to monetary contributions by local agencies, public and private businesses, multiple families received assistance with their utility bills. All families receiving assistance were screened for eligibility before being entered into a random drawing (excluding CAPNA employees).

A total of 46 smoke detectors were donated along with HOMEnergy efficiency kits from CAPNA, courtesy of TVA. The kits included energy efficiency tools such as weather stripping, switch plates, caulk, and other materials to help reduce energy consumption.

Moulton Head Start students show off their Fire Safety Manual coloring books during Fire Safety Week

In addition to the items distributed to families, Moulton Head Start students participated in fire safety activities that included materials donated from the local fire department. Thanks to the extensive community support, Moulton Head Start families are able to live a little safer and sleep a little warmer.

Families interested in applying for Moulton Head Start may contact the center at 256-974-0961 or by visiting https://capna.org/childrens-services/.

Labor of Love Opens In Marshall County

Albertville Head Start Early Learning Center Prepares for 2019-2020 Early Childhood Recruiting Season

Recruitment season for 2019-20 has begun for The Partnership’s Children’s Services staff.  And the new Albertville site is ready for the applications from local families looking for a high-quality center to serve their preschoolers.  The Albertville site is located at 908 Cooley Street in Albertville just off of U.S. Highway 431.  The site was acquired to consolidate other locations in Marshall County that were in structures considered less than ideal for housing preschool children, including mobile facilities or dated buildings in need of extensive upgrades.

Classroom Specialist Letha Cannon is based at the Albertville site and supervises classroom staff for four classrooms: one Early Head Start classroom that serves children birth to three years of age, plus pregnant women, and three preschool Head Start classrooms that serve children ages three to five, or up to eligibility for kindergarten.

We provide that comprehensive program to make sure that we are supporting the parent and training for them and the children so that we can prepare them to become school-ready with skills for school and skills for life.

-Letha Cannon, Albertville Children’s Services Classroom Specialist

In 2018, The Partnership served more than 2,500 children in 16 counties across North Alabama in a variety of early childhood programs.  Early Head Start serves children birth to three years, plus pregnant women.  Preschool Head Start serves children ages three to five, up to eligibility for kindergarten.  Home Visiting programs include Early Head Start Home Visiting and First Teacher Programs. These programs serve families in their homes through qualified staff with extensive early childhood education backgrounds.  And Child Care Partnerships are provided through collaborative efforts between The Partnership and local child care providers.

Applications for Partnership early childhood education programs may be started online with the selection of program and location preferences .  Once the pre-application has been submitted, families are contacted by Family Engagement staff to complete the application in person.  Each applicant follows the same intake process and selection is made based on a points system for prioritization. 

To find our Early Head Start or Head Start location nearest you visit us online at www.capna.org and click your county of residence.

Children’s Services Staff Bring Hope to Abandoned Mother

Each day for our Children’s Services staff is a new day, a different day, and not always the day anyone would expect–or want–to have.  Recently our Early Head Start staff were faced with the task of acquiring emergency resources for a formerly-enrolled family from the eastern region of our service area.  The family moved out of our service area into events that very few of us will ever be forced to endure.  The mother of the family recently experienced the death of her 23-day-old infant.  Her husband left her with their two-year-old and little else.  Facing homelessness, a penniless existence and nowhere to turn, the mother moved in with her own mother with her two-year-old in tow.

Normally, moving in with a parent can be a source of rejuvenation, a time of recuperation and an opportunity to plan next steps.  This mother, however, had stepped into a dangerous and unstable situation.  She was able to secure employment but was forced to hesitantly leave her two-year-old with a grandmother in an unpredictable environment.

The staff continued their efforts by contacting the local HUD office and had a housing  application ready for the young mother to pick up.  Next, they contacted local businesses that were hiring.  Then, an application for the nearest Child Care Partnership (CCP) was made available and the toddler was put on the waiting list while the mother applied for a paid position with the same CCP.

Staff scheduled a meeting with the young mother during her lunch hour and in one day were able to complete all applications, only to find out this mom had only four days to vacate her current housing situation.  The news that seemed so overwhelming to this mother who had suffered so much pain was fuel for the staff.  They rallied their resources and proceeded to accumulate beds, furniture, bathroom and kitchen supplies.  These indefatigable servants kept the mule hooked to the plow and were able to find space at a local multi-family housing development.  With the aid of several area churches they acquired the deposits required before move-in and got utilities set up.  And, to top their efforts, they were able to have Christmas set up for the young family.

In the words of one staff member, “This mom finally has some HOPE for the first time in a long time.”

All in a day’s work.

Image: Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother [effect added]