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Facing Arizona: Shaping the future of children and families

Editor’s note: Facing Arizona is a series that will appear on KTAR.com and social media  — follow KTAR News on Instagram and Facebook for updates — highlighting unique and everyday people across our state and give you a glimpse into their lives.

I am a caseworker with the City of Phoenix Head Start program. I have been with the City of Phoenix for 24 years.

I started at the Phoenix Convention Center and then became a Head Start teacher. From there, I worked out in the community as a Head Start family advocate, where I would meet with families, in their homes, every week, with pregnant moms and children up to three years old. I would also have the children come to a socialization each week, which gave the mothers an opportunity to teach their child in a classroom setting.

I then transitioned to a caseworker where I help enroll children in the program and I also have the opportunity to work directly with fathers. I meet once a month with fathers, I teach them about child development, I help them build upon their parenting skills and I also help them learn to teach their children in a classroom setting. We have a monthly topic, which is our focus, and this may be responsibility, actively reading with your child, and sustainability. How to grow the skills you have learned; through your job, through your relationships, so you can be a better father.

The biggest takeaway for me is seeing the growth that these children have over the two years they are enrolled in our program. There is also the work I do with the parents as well, which benefits both them and the child. It’s an amazing feeling for a parent to come to me at the conclusion of the program and say thank you for everything that they were able to learn and express how hopeful they are for their child’s education moving forward.

Being a former teacher, that is the best feeling and it makes me makes me grateful to know that I played a direct role in shaping that child’s future as they grow with two parents that know, and understand, the benefits of being an active participant in that process. I feel blessed that this is what I am able to do for our community. –Kevin

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