Hammond Head Start alumni succeeding in college

2013-04-26T00:00:00Z Hammond Head Start alumni succeeding in collegeBy Times Staff nwitimes.com
April 26, 2013 12:00 am  • 

HAMMOND | Barbara Gustin, director of Hammond Head Start, is holding open registration for children 3 to 5 for the 2013-14 school year.

Parent volunteers are an essential part of the curriculum and help in the decision-making process. Head Start  promotes communication skills and socialization in a group setting. The program prepares young children for the next stages of life and partners with parents to make the right decisions for their children.

“Parents don’t just send a brain to school, parents send a whole child,” Gustin said.

The program benefits income eligible children, including children with special needs and disabilities.

Sessions start after Labor Day. The children are expected to be in attendance from Monday to Thursday. Half-day sessions are offered in the morning or afternoon. School sites include Irving, Lafayette, Edison, Hess, Maywood, Miller and O’Bannon elementary schools.

For more information, call (219) 989-7345 or apply at Miller Elementary School, 6530 New Hampshire St.

Head Start enhances early childhood learning to help children prosper in the future. Three of Hammond Head Start’s alumni who are succeeding have parents who have also succeeded by being employed by the program.

Leticia Garcia, assistant teacher at the Lafayette Elementary School, is the mother of Head Start alumni Vicente and Christian Garcia. She first volunteered for the program when her son, Vicente, was 3. Now 23, he is a senior at Purdue University in West Lafayette and will graduate May 11 with a degree in chemical engineering.

Vincente chose chemical engineering because of his love for science and has accepted a job at Schreiber Foods Inc. in Utah. He also participates as a mentor to children, educating them about chemical engineering, has been enrolled in the Minority Engineering Program.

“School readiness always stays with you,” he said.

Christian Garcia, 22, also attends Purdue, seeking a degree in chemical engineering and on track to graduate in 2014. He is also a peer mentor for children and is part of the Minority Engineer Program.

“Every time my kids have a success, I call and say thank you to Barbara Gustin,” said Leticia Garcia

Rocha Gogins, a teacher at Hess Elementary School, enrolled her child, Alan Gogins, in Head Start at 3.

He was accepted because of a physical need. At the 10 months, he was diagnosed with a hole in his heart and had a pacemaker implanted at 4. Now 21, he  attends Ball State University, completing his third year of the Landscape Architecture Program. He is attending through The College Bound Opportunity Program, a student activity and mentoring program, and is eligible for an internship this year.

“Head Start helped to prepare me to be ready for the next level and my future,” Alan said.

He gives back to Head Start by donating some of his models to Rocha Gogins’s class. The children in her class paint the models as an activity and learn about the shapes and designs of buildings.

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