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January 20th

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Upbring Head Start Goes Above and Beyond | Upbring

Portrait of a sweet little girl playing on a swingset 0

Throughout Upbring’s Head Start preschool classrooms you can find children engaging in any number of educational activities from creating their own crafts to reciting English and Spanish sight words on the vocabulary wall.

Our Head Start preschool program is designed to support each child’s development and growth in a positive learning environment through services including age-appropriate lesson plans, health screenings and family well-being. Upbring teachers promote child-initiated activities and opportunities for individual and group learning to ensure each student’s success when entering elementary school.

Danielle*, a bright-eyed, creative child enrolled in Cleburne’s Upbring Head Start preschool program, looked forward to coming to school each day. It gave her an inclusive place to learn and play, while her single mother worked a full-time job. Not only did Danielle thrive at our preschool program, her mother also expressed how supportive Upbring’s family services staff was to her as she balanced employment and motherhood.

On one seemingly typical school morning, Danielle kissed and hugged her loving mother just as she always did before starting the school day. But little did she know, it would be their very last goodbye. Her mother died in a tragic car accident on her way to work. The news would change Danielle’s life forever.

During the family’s greatest time of need, our staff responded quickly to deliver the necessary support and resources. They stepped up to provide wraparound services like counseling, warm meals delivered to their doorstep, grocery assistance and aid with fees associated with funeral costs.

With a trauma-informed approach to child well-being, our teachers understood how an agonizing loss of a parent could disrupt focus and negatively impact learning. That’s why as long as Danielle was enrolled in Upbring’s Head Start preschool, she received patient educational instruction designed to meet her right where she was in her moment of grief. While the pain of losing a parent can never be erased, Danielle remains a hopeful, inquisitive and caring little girl who loves learning. Her resilience inspires us and everyone who knows her.

At Upbring, we have the unique opportunity to walk alongside children and families throughout each season of life. Our desire to serve as a source of comfort and stability stands firm through triumph and tragedy. No matter the day—it is our privilege to give each child a head start. In our continued efforts to provide life-changing services, we have rapidly expanded our reach to over 1,800 Head Start preschool students annually—more than doubling the number of children served in the last year.

*Danielle’s story is true, but we used pseudonyms to protect the family’s privacy.

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