Youth Education

June and daughter web
As with most economically challenged families raising young children in rural southeast Nebraska, their first encounter with SENCA programs and services is often made through Head Start. June’s story not only highlights the advantages of Head Start for children age 3 to 5 but shares her personal involvement with the program and the impact Head Start has on the entire family.

June was a young, single mother when she enrolled her extremely shy and introverted daughter, Caitlyn, into the Head Start program at the SENCA Head Start in Table Rock . “Caitlyn had very little socialization skills and was extremely shy around adults and other children” replies June. “Head Start activities were good at helping Caitlyn overcome her shyness and they also helped her and I interact better as mom and daughter.”
During Caitlyn’s first year of preschool June participated in many of the opportunities provided to parents/guardians through the Head Start program, such as providing in-kind services by volunteering in the classroom as well as attending regular scheduled parent meetings. With a clear understanding of how important it was to provide a good education for her daughter, when it came to setting goals for herself, June felt it was important to include furthering her education in a career that would allow her to help others. However, it wasn’t until Caitlyn’s 2nd year of preschool before June would begin to realize that her goal of being the first one in her family to go to college could become a reality.
“If I would not have received the help and encouragement from staff at the Head Start in Table Rock, I would have never had the faith in myself to take on such a challenge” shares June. “The Head Start staff at the time included Lisa (Schaardt), Angie (Hunzeker-Shupp), and Anita (Kimpston). I
volunteered in the classroom several times a week and Anita, who was the Family Services Advocate at that time, would help me fill out scholarship and grant applications. The support provided through those funding opportunities was the only way I could afford to go to college.” Thankfully all the hard work invested by June and her Head Start support team paid off, she was awarded funding to start college, however, the program she applied for, Human Services, had a year wait before she could begin.
Ironically June started college the same time that Caitlyn entered Kindergarten, both mom and daughter ready to be successful in their educational journeys. June worked hard to achieve a very important goal she set for her and her family,and in 2006 she graduated from Southeast Community
College with an Associate Degree in Human Services. That same year June relocated to Bern, Kansas and spent the next ten years working in two Kansas school systems, Bern for six years and Axtell for four years. June worked as a paraprofessional educator and was instrumental in working with youth ages preschool through 12th grade, focusing on the areas of Title 1 and at-risk youth.
Then in 2017 June’s dream of working with the Head Start program, that was such an instrumental part of her life, came true when she accepted a positon as a program aide for NEK-CAP (Northeast Kansas Community Action Partnership). Currently June assists the classroom teacher and drives the bus for the 18 preschool students enrolled in the program. In addition June takes classes through the KCCTO (Kansas Child Care Training Opportunity) program offered through Kansas State University with a goal of realizing her ambition of attaining certification in Child Development.
June is grateful for her involvement with the SENCA Head Start program and the impact that is has made on her career and her family. June and her husband, Thad reside in Bern, Kansas. Together they have four children, two grandsons, and are in the process of adopting four foster children into their family. June’s oldest daughter Caitlyn lives in Richardson County with plans to enroll her son into the local SENCA Head Start program in the upcoming school year. Caitlyn hopes to follow her mom’s inspiring example and establish a career focused on working with children.