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Meet Ana and Yara, one of our DuPage Center’s Early Learning families

“Ana” used to be embarrassed at sign-in time when she took her daughter, “Yara,” to preschool. She had trouble with writing and English, and took a long time to write her name on the sign-in sheet.

Now, both Ana and Yara are flourishing in Metropolitan DuPage’s Head Start program; Ana with home-based support from Maria L., and Yara with Maria S. at Bensenville Early Learning Center.

Ana is not only learning to write her and Yara’s names, but is also attending math, reading, and writing classes at College of DuPage’s Henry Hyde Resource Center. Maria connected her with the resources she needs to support Yara, from food through Loaves & Fishes and clothes through a DuPage Center clothing drive and Goodwill vouchers, to insurance through Access DuPage – even dental treatment.

Beyond physical resources, the emotional support Maria provides Ana goes beyond the self-confidence that comes with writing her name and beginning to accomplish the goals she has for her family.

“Maria gave me a lot of emotional support. My husband was drinking a lot. He had abandon[ed] us for more than a year. Maria offered support during this time. She taught me about the importance of being involved in the life of [Yara] and my other child in Guatemala. When I would talk to my husband, I shared this information that I learned from Maria. He has returned to be with us, and is not drinking anymore.”

Ana, understanding the importance of being involved with Yara’s life, is interested in learning about her stages of educational and social-emotional growth. “When I started, I didn’t know the agency would be teaching me how my children will develop,” she says.

When Yara was born in Guatemala she didn’t know how to speak, and had sensory issues. “She didn’t want to touch the floor or grass or soil or to be wet. She didn’t want to play with paint,” Ana explains. “With Maria, they started to play outside, play on the floor and in the grass. Maria also helped her use different types of materials.”

Now, Ana says that Yara “understands everything.” She knows her letters, numbers, and colors. She speaks more English, and loves the books her teachers give her. She tells stories just like her teachers. “She is learning more vocabulary,” Ana says. “She teaches me things that she learns in school. She is learning more English. She is counting to 10. She knows more words in English and teaches them to me.”

We’ll let Ana explain what Metropolitan DuPage means to her:

“If I never found this program, I would never be the way I am now. If I never met Maria L., [Yara] would not speak clear and learn to be dirty as a part of her development. If I never met Maria S., I would never have known there is a place I can learn to write my name. The program has encouraged me and taught me that I am capable. And now I know I can do different things. In Guatemala children go to school at 7 years old. Here is different – the program has helped me to accomplish the missions that I have for my family.”

Names have been changed to protect the identities of clients.

About Head Start and Early Head Start
Head Start-Early Head Start serves pregnant women, infants and toddlers from birth to three years of age and their families. Working to ensure school readiness for our youngest residents, and for empowering families to do the best for their children’s future.