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How Head Start is helping parents

December 20, 2011 2:23:09 PM PST
Head Start has long been known as a program that helps children, but now some parents are getting some extra help.

At a class in English language arts, students are still learning the language and hoping for much more education.

"I want to go to college because I want to make a career for me and to teach my kids how very it's important to learn," Nancy Romero said.

Dozens of low income parents are enrolled in a new program called "College Access and Success" run by the Educational Alliance.

"Many of them are single parents and the majority of them have not finished high school," program director Stacey Li said.

The Educational Alliance is a long time operator of federal Head Start programs for children from low income families.

When officials of the alliance realized they were serving the children of former Head Start kids, they decided it was time to start educating the parents.

"We want every one of our Early Head Start and Head Start kids to graduate from college, so we actually hope that this is a way to lift the entire community, long term, out of poverty," Robin Bernstein, president and CEO, said.

Classes are provided by borough of Manhattan Community College. Free child care and other social services for the College Access parents are designed to keep them focused on their goals.

"I want a higher... more education. I want to get a good job, a better job. I want a better life," student Crystal Wang said.

Administrators of the program acknowledge it could take up to 8 years for some students to complete the cycle, from high school equivalency through college, but considering the potential rewards, they feel it would be time well spent.

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