Help Two Sisters Recover from Trauma

Head Start students

Head Start students Dear Friends:

I am excited to announce that starting today, your year-end donation to The Child Center of NY will be worth even more — because our generous advisory board member Russell Carson will match what you give 1:3. Estefania and Ariana are two preschoolers who have suffered unimaginable tragedy and could desperately use your help.

When the two sisters, Estefania, 4, and Ariana, 3, enrolled at our Corona Head Start, life was difficult, but they were managing. They and their two loving parents shared an apartment with another family member. Their father, Marco, worked full time at a restaurant. He didn’t earn enough to put them above the poverty line, but they figured he would in time.

Their mother, Maria, didn’t speak much English, and their home was devoid of children’s books, but our Head Start centers are filled with age-appropriate reading material and skilled and passionate teachers who get kids excited about reading them.

Then the unthinkable happened, and the girls’ lives were turned upside down.

Marco fell into a coma, the result of a drug overdose. The family lost their only source of income and entered into an emotional nightmare.

Imagine having to explain to your 3- and 4-year-old children that their beloved father might never come back.

Suddenly, the girls began having problems in school. “Estefania was one of my brightest students,” says the 4-year-old’s teacher, Ms. Rawshan. “She became terribly anxious. She’s refusing to listen and hangs onto my chair, afraid to let me leave — scared that I, too, might disappear and never come back.”

Fortunately, our Head Start teachers are trained in Emotionally Responsive Teaching (ERT), an evidence-based teaching strategy pioneered by Bank Street College of Education. That’s why our programs have been recognized by the NYS Department of Education and the NYC Administration for Children’s Services for excellence in supporting the emotional wellness of children.

With this training, Ms. Rawshan and Ariana’s teacher, Ms. Jennifer, are ensuring that school remains a haven for these bright girls, and that they can continue learning.

Since The Child Center is a multiservice agency, we are providing lifesaving services to the mom as well. And the school’s on-site social worker is providing therapy for the family to help them through this agonizing period of their lives — because we know that emotional wellness is just as key to future success as academic achievement.

Corona Head Start Family

The whole family in happier times

In addition, our Head Start centers provide two meals and a nutritious snack, five days a week, to every child. This is a lifeline for so many of our hardworking families living in poverty.

We will continue to do all we can to help Estefania and Ariana, but the truth is, they have a long way to go — and we can continue to help them only if we can keep our Head Start doors open.

Families like Ariana and Estefania’s just aren’t able to pay what it takes to educate their children, and the government pays only a percentage. That’s why we look to compassionate people like you to make up the difference. Your gift will give these girls the bright, promising start their mother wishes she could give them.

Our early childhood education programs are the epitome of an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure.

In the 2017-18 school year, 19% of 3-year-olds at our Corona Head Start, where Estafania and Ariana go to school, met widely held expectations for social-emotional development in the fall; by spring, 81% were meeting or exceeding those expectations. Only 11% of those 3-year-olds began the school year meeting expectations for literacy; by spring, 100% — every single student — were meeting those expectations. Please give generously so we can ensure Estefania and Ariana, despite all the obstacles they face, start kindergarten ready to learn and begin life ready to thrive.

You can’t control the circumstances into which Estefania and Ariana were born. Fortunately, you can do something about their future.

Thank you for your support!


Chief Executive Officer

P.S. Our Corona Head Start — where Estefania and Ariana go to school — has a waiting list of nearly 400 kids, most of whom live below the poverty line. Please give today so we can plan for how many children we can serve in the coming year. Donate now, and your gift will be matched 1:3 — and make an even bigger difference. Please don’t let this opportunity to help more kids pass.

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