The Most Basic Need
As a Supervisor at ABC Head Start one of my responsibilities is to make weekly visits to the sites that I supervise. That means I get to connect with the staff, the families and the children. I love this part of my job because it always reminds me why I do what I do.
Recently out at a visit I was sitting on the floor playing with a little boy and he said to me “Miss Christi, are you my friend?” I replied, “Of course I’m your friend! Are you my friend?” He responded with a huge smile “YES, because I really like you!” (Heart melts on the spot.) “Aw that is very friendly,” I replied “It’s nice to come to Head Start because we are all friends here.” He answered “Yep, I love it!” (Heart melts again.)
On another visit I happened to sit in on a parent group. Weekly at sites parents are invited to come and take part in groups that are led by the Social Worker at each site. These groups could focus on anything from positive parenting to getting ready for tax time. Some of the most powerful moments happen in the “check-in” when parents are simply introducing themselves. This was one of those times. One parent in particular introduced herself and let us all know who her Head Start child was. She explained that from a young age her child was labeled as aggressive and violent. She then started to talk about how alienated she feels because of her child’s struggles. “No one wants to be friends with a someone who has a child who is mean. So basically I have no friends, I don’t even have anyone I can talk to.”
Another mother sympathized saying “I am a mother with 4 small children. I am busy and so friends started to find other friends. I don’t have any friends left either. No one I can call, no one to vent to, no one to go for coffee with.”
Another parent, a repeat family who had her older child attend spoke up and said “I completely understand. I felt the same way when I brought my older child to ABC Head Start. And had I not had the program then I’m not sure I would be here today. But this is exactly what ABC Head Start is for! Before we leave today lets exchange phone numbers. We are all friends here and we can all support each other.”
WOW! I was speechless.
I had tears forming in my eyes and wanted to shout out YES! THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT ABC HEAD START IS FOR! I was overwhelmed with pride in our agency and the work that we do.
The Supervisor I share an office with has a quote on her bulletin board that goes something like “Beyond food and shelter, the most basic need is to belong.” Isn’t that the truth.