When Zohreh enrolled her young daughter into Maricopa County’s Head Start program, she hoped to start the little girl on a journey that would lead to higher education and a career. This was a path that she had not been able to pursue because her family had emigrated from a country where women’s rights were greatly restricted, including the ability for women to be educated.
During one of her weekly visits with Zohreh, Head Start staff member Alma De Arias learned that attending college had been a lifelong dream for the mother. It was a goal that Zohreh never thought she would achieve, leaving her with little ability to improve her family’s economic situation.
Fortunately, Alma imagined a different future for Zohreh and reached out to her colleague Jennifer Madison, a career advisor in the County’s Workforce Development Division of the Human Services Department. Together, they developed a plan that could help start Zohreh on her journey to higher education and a career that could improve her family finances.
Each week, Alma and Zohreh reviewed information about the services that the County’s programs could offer her. Slowly Zohreh began to trust Alma and began to dream again.
Alma assisted, supported, and encouraged Zohreh through the process of creating a resume and completing applications for financial aid and grant programs. Zohreh was approved for a grant that enabled her to enroll at Arizona College to study for a Pharmacy Technician Certification.
Zohreh attends classes while her daughter participates in the County’s Head Start program. Together, with her family, Zohreh is adjusting to the new routines of college activities and homework. Thanks to Alma, Zohreh is realizing her own educational and career dreams at the same time she is laying the same important foundation for her daughter.
Zohreh’s story demonstrates the holistic nature of the Maricopa County Head Start program. Not only does the program offer no-cost childcare and early education to qualifying families, but it also helps families address any barriers or adversity by connecting them to a support system and a range of support services.
“We are here to provide the best services available to families, to show them that we care, and to support them where they are while helping them advocate for themselves and their children,” said Alma, who speaks from experience. “I am a former Head Start parent who received assistance and support from a wonderful Head Start employee when I most needed it.” Now Alma has the chance to give to others and set them on a path to their secure future.
To learn more about Maricopa County’s Head Start program, visit www.Maricopa.gov/HeadStart. To see a list of locations that county residents can visit in the community to receive services, visit www.Maricopa.gov/HSDConnect.