Ed. note: This post originally appeared as an ACF Region 8 Success Story. Read the original story here.
My name is Kyle Adolf and I am writing this story to explain the positive affect the Head Start program has had on my family. The Head Start program has had a profound influence on my family as all three of my young children have attended and graduated from the program.
My oldest son, Sean, attended Head Start during a time when his mother and I were still married. Sean has been diagnosed with AD/HD and high-functioning autism. During the time he was enrolled in Head Start he was not yet diagnosed with either of these disorders, but he was determined to have some sort of disability yet to be determined. I fully believe that this early detection was instrumental in paving the way for his achievements thus far dealing with these difficult disabilities both at school as well as at home. Sean is now in third grade and is receiving higher grades than I would have expected to see of someone with his special needs.
My middle son, Zachary, while having no official diagnosis, has problems with anxiety. Zachary was just two years old when his mother and I divorced, due to some unfortunate sets of circumstances that took place over the following year or so, had his entire sense of security stripped from him. Zachary needs structure possibly more than most his age which is not always easy to completely provide when you are a single parent. Head Start was a tremendous help in providing the daily structure that he required for his healthy development. Zachary is now in first grade, and while we are still dealing with a few issues with him, he is excelling academically.
Matthew is my youngest son and thankfully he was too young to have been as negatively affected by the same situation that his brothers struggled with. For the most part, I have been able to provide Matthew with the environment he needs to be happy and develop appropriately. I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude to the Head Start program for all that they have done to help me achieve this goal for Matthew.
Now for me…I am a single, disabled father of three very special boys! I have held such titles as; Marine, Security Guard, Armed Courier, Correctional Officer, and almost Law Enforcement Officer. I was about to apply myself to a career as a law enforcement officer when I lost one of my legs in an accident. Being disabled adds a whole other set of difficulties to raising children on top of being a single parent. After my accident I no longer had any work experience that was of any use to me so I decided to enroll in college. Head Start has been very supportive of my college endeavors both directly to me and also with the time and effort they have put toward my children that I may not have been able to offer them on my own with my academic commitments. As if all the previous help Head Start has given me was not enough, they also played an important part in me finding myself. Through becoming the Chairperson of the local program’s Policy Council, and the enormous reinforcement from the local director I have come to realize that I was meant for a leadership position. I am not sure yet where this revelation will take me but so far I have become more confident and happy with who I am, been honored as the National Head Start Association Parent of the Year and I have more drive and determination than ever to achieve my goals.
There is no way I could possibly give the Head Start program back anywhere near as much as they have given me. I truly wish I was able to give them more than three years of my time as Policy Council Chairperson or as a member of the North Dakota Head Start Association Board but unfortunately I cannot. I just pray this story will be of some use in repaying my gratitude to such a great program. I will attest to the fact that Head Start works.