When Edith learned that her pre-school-aged daughter would need a bone marrow transplant, she soon realized that the procedure would mean a lengthy hospital stay, blood transfusions, and an array of doctors and medicines for many months to come. It would also mean keeping her daughter confined to a very clean environment to reduce the chance of infection. There was no way the little girl could continue to go to her Head Start program.
That’s when Maricopa County’s Head Start team jumped into action. Site Supervisor Maria Natera Oviedo and Family Support Specialist Claudia Escobar developed a plan to offer the girl virtual classes to not only continue her learning but to her cope with the emotional stress of her illness and treatment. During her virtual classes, her teachers encouraged the girl to say hello to her friends, and her classmates were able to make some “get well” cards for her.
Knowing the toll that such a difficult situation could take on a parent, Claudia also made sure to visit Edith at home to talk about how she was feeling and how she was managing her own health. During one visit, Edith shared that she was worried about her daughter’s low self-esteem because the child’s treatment was causing hair loss. Claudia helped connect Edith to a professional counselor who was able to advise her about how to help her daughter.
Fortunately, the bone marrow transplant was a success and Edith’s daughter is doing much better emotionally and physically. Although she still cannot attend school in person due to her ongoing medical treatment, she has been able to continue her virtual classes and keep that valuable connection with her teachers and friends.
Edith, who had simply hoped to find a way to keep her daughter in school virtually, remains thankful for the above-and-beyond support that she continues to receive from the Early Education team at Maricopa County Human Services Department.
If your family or a family you know in Maricopa County could benefit from no-cost, high-quality early education services, we invite you to learn more about the services and support available through Maricopa County’s Head Start program. Visit www.Maricopa.gov/HeadStart for a list of locations and to apply.