Head Start Stories and Experiences...
1. Submit an Application
2. Be contacted by a HCAP Head Start Family Advocate
One Family's Story
by Richard Gallarde
Aloha, my name is Richard Gallarde and I am the proud parent of Bethany, my 4 year-old daughter. Earlier this year, Bethany's mother and I separated. Providing the best for my daughter has always been a high priority for me. As important as good food and shelter are for our children, a quality education cannot be understated, especially at Bethany's young age. I first heard about Head Start in the 90's and never forgot about the program. So, this year when I became a single parent which translates to a single income, Head Start was the ideal option for Bethany.
I contacted the program for general information one afternoon and was delighted to receive a call that same day from Sheena, a Head Start Family Advocate. Sheena explained the enrollment process and provided information on the necessary forms. I was most grateful when Sheena offered information on the Pre-School Open Doors program. Although this was an extra step and required additional paperwork, before I knew it, my Bethany was enrolled in an affordable quality pre-school program at Halawa Head Start.
At that time I was working graveyard shift so my days were usually free. Now that Bethany was enrolled in a full day program, I seized an opportunity to further my education. I already had an Associates Degree in Human Services, but was unsure about pursuing a career in social work. In the meantime, I volunteered in Bethany's classroom and soon accepted the Parent Committee nomination to become the Policy Council representative.
I observed that many of the children were from single-parent homes and there was noticeable absence of male role models. I decided then to register at HCC and enrolled in two early childhood education classes. I found I still had free time, so I joined the Head Start Education, Personnel, and Fatherhood Committees.
I am proud to say that - not only am I the proud father of a Head Start student - but I've recently been hired as a Head Start Family Advocate and am a part of the HCAP "Ohana".
Head Start Family Advocate