MOUNT VERNON — Knox County Head Start pupils and staff at the New Hope Early Education Center were thrilled by a visit from some of Ohio’s Distinguished Young Women, and the feeling was mutual.
The young women rode an authentic Head Start bus to the center on Tuesday and, over breakfast, received an orientation from associate director Lori Jones, who explained Head Start’s mission and the preschool, childcare and family services the agency offers to the community.
Next, the visitors learned some of the Head Start “tricks of the trade,” including the calming “pretzel” routine and a health education dance called “Be Choosy.”
To the delight of the children, the young women then dropped in on the classrooms and helped the children with activities such as reading and assembling puzzles.
The children know the visit is special, said family and community specialist Lauren Bennett.
“The young women come in together and they have their medals on,” she said. “Since there are so many girls, a lot of our children get almost one-on-one time with them, and that is very nice.”
Keta Burke-Williams, representing Montgomery County, enjoyed her visit to the infant and toddler room.
“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “I think it was really cool that each kid has their own character and they are really encouraged to be themselves. Also, it was really neat that Head Start not only works with kids but with their families to make everything better. ... I thought that was really neat. They took it past the classroom and showed that they really cared and wanted to make a difference.”
Stark County’s Taylor Blaydes added, “Being here today makes me want to come and volunteer. It was really interesting to get to see the kids. Because of today’s visit, I decided I would like to work further with children.”