Mid-America Head Start News
Head Start promoting its services on and in local transit
Mid-America Head Start has purchased promotional displays on and in buses in the Kansas City metro. Look for these next time you are out and about.
Reading marathon held at Northland Head Start
Jim Caccamo, director of the Mid-America Regional Council's Department of Early Learning, reads Oliver Finds His Way to children at Northland Head Start.
More than 130 children in the Northland Head Start program participated in a marathon this spring — but they were exercising their minds, not their bodies. The children, all ages three to five, read more than 380 books as part of the program’s reading marathon.
The two-week marathon encouraged children to read at home every night with their parents. Brenda Sottler, who is the education coordinator for Northland Head Start, said the purpose of the marathon was to get the children to see that reading can be fun.
“We want to show the kids that reading can be exciting and enjoyable. And we feel it’s important to get our parents involved in encouraging reading at home,” Sottler said.
During the reading marathon, guest readers were invited to come to the center to read books to the children. Guest readers included former Kansas City, Missouri, Councilmember Alvin Brooks, Councilmember Melba Curls and Police Officer Becky Davis.
2-1-1 service helps families
The 2-1-1 system, coordinated by Heart of America United Way, is connecting people in the region with important community services and volunteer opportunities.
The system, which became operational in March 2006, has logged more than 85,000 calls from citizens wanting information about everything from finding an after-school program to securing adequate care for an aging parent. The region’s 2-1-1 system spans a 23-county area, including seven counties in Kansas and 16 in Missouri.
Pat Cundiff, vice president for Direct Services at Heart of America United Way, says the 2-1-1 service has been especially beneficial to parents and families in the Kansas City region who need important information.
“If you have a question or need some information as a parent or caregiver and you don’t know where to turn, 2-1-1 is a great service,” Cundiff said. “Instead of making five or six or more calls to try to find an answer to your question, you can make just one call and you’ll reach a trained specialist who can help you.”
Cundiff said that 2-1-1 is very valuable to parents who work because they can reach a live call specialist 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The most frequent things that parents and families call 2-1-1 about are where to get financial assistance; how to get help with paying utility bills or rent; where food pantries are located in the metropolitan area; how to get assistance with health or prescription needs; and where to find mental health and family counseling services.
The call center also gets hundreds of calls from parents and families about where to find a child care provider in their area and where they can find affordable child development services.
Cundiff said she is thrilled that thousands of Kansas City area families have already taken advantage of the 2-1-1 service and she knows many more will be helped by the service in the years to come.