While many of us are looking forward to Spring Break, school-age children are counting down the days until summer.
To provide meaningful and fun experiences during summer, Catholic Charities’ offers year-round programming at its Head Start and Early Head programs in Baltimore City, Carroll and Harford Counties.
During June, July, and August, children enjoy festive, fun camp-like activities along with academic lessons. The year-round programming helps prevent the “summer slide,” a tendency for students, especially those from low-income families, to lose what they have just learned in the previous months.
It also provides the caregivers and parents access to food pantries, clothing, shelter, counseling, English classes for speakers of other native languages, job training, life skills classes, substance misuse treatment and prevention, services related to domestic violence, relationship and parenting education, and assistance for families of incarcerated individuals.
“All of these wraparound services help families build self-sufficiency and stay involved in a child’s education,” explained Carroll County Head Start Education Coordinator Amy Hammond. “In fiscal year 2018, every Carroll County family that expressed interest in a service received it.”
For Heather Jenkins, whose daughter is enrolled in Carroll County Head Start, the program has made a huge difference in her child’s well-being and development, and in her own peace of mind.
“The staff are so supportive and display such love and eagerness to serve our children,” she said. “That level of care allows me to feel completely comfortable with the safety and welfare of my child.”
Early Head Start and Head Start are designed to develop social, emotional, physical, language, cognitive, literacy, and math skills children from birth to age 5. These skills are strong predictors of success.
“We know that achievement in one area results in growth in another,” Hammond said. “You can see that with an infant, for example, when a baby learns to pull herself up, she is expanding her reach and see things differently. That supports her cognitive and language development.”
How to help: Donate Pull-Ups, diapers, and wipes, or serve as a classroom or administrative volunteer.