Head Start Provides Strong Foundations for Mother and Child

Early Childhood Development

A staff member from our Early Childhood Education team was placing a catering order at Panera when the employee immediately recognized the address for the order.

“Isn’t that where the NVFS Head Start location is? My son went there and you saved our lives!” the employee, Nuria Tahir, stated.

After making this wonderful connection with one of our pre-school parents, NVFS learned just how instrumental Head Start was in providing a better future for Nuria and her son, Jadyn.

The Tahirs’ story actually begins with the loss of Jadyn’s father, who was killed after falling asleep at the wheel. To provide for his growing family, he worked two jobs and was taking computer science courses at night. Tragically, it was this intense schedule that led to the accident that would change Nuria’s and Jadyn’s lives forever.

With the help of extended family, Nuria decided to relocate from New York City to Northern Virginia. After a few transitional years, she found an hourly, part-time job at Panera and enrolled Jadyn in half-day Head Start.

“NVFS Head Start was the best of both worlds for us,” Nuria shares. “With me working and Jadyn learning in a safe and structured environment, it was a great fit.”

Nuria was thankful to have Jadyn in a classroom where he was taking steps to be ready for kindergarten, versus watching TV with a babysitter.

This stability allowed Nuria to flourish at work, and Panera soon offered a full-time, salaried position as a manager. The Family Advocates at Head Start worked to find Jadyn a full-time spot at school, allowing Nuria to accept the promotion.

“The message was: ‘We want to help your son learn and help you maintain your employment.’ Without Head Start, I wouldn’t have this job managing six staff members,” says Nuria. Jadyn is in first grade and is doing well in school, especially in math.

Jadyn will become a big brother this winter, and because of Nuria’s job security, her new baby will not qualify for Head Start, which is a program for low-income families. Nuria’s experience is a classic example of how NVFS works at every opportunity to help lift families above the poverty line, leading to self-sufficiency and brighter futures.