Yoselin & Jayden

“Even though I’ve got my GED, I really regret not finishing high school,” says teen mom Yoselin, who is enrolled in the Leake & Watts Parent-Child Home Program along with her 2-year-old son Jayden. She truly appreciates the home visiting program, which teaches parenting skills and supports the early literacy of children ages 18 months to 33 months. “My mom had to raise three girls by herself, which was hard, and it’s important to me that Jayden has a better life. I want my son to go farther, to finish college and get a good job.”
 
Even though Yoselin has wanted the best for Jayden, she was unsure of how to promote his education and provide the necessary support so that her son would have a strong start with academics. That is why she jumped at the chance to enroll him in the Parent-Child Home Program. “They told me that this would help get him ready for school. They were right – the visits have helped him a lot. I am so impressed because I don’t think I learned my shapes until first grade, but Jayden already knows them all and he is only two! And when he speaks to me now, he knows the right words to tell me what he wants. He is the first child in my family to know both English and Spanish, and everyone is so proud.”
 
Aware that children from low-income families across the country are inadequately prepared for kindergarten and struggle for years to catch up to their peers, Leake & Watts launched the Parent-Child Home Program two years ago in order to provide support to families like Yoselin and Jayden’s. Twice a week, Home Visitors join the family to help model positive parent-child interactions of all kinds, bringing books and educational toys that will nurture the child’s development. For young mothers like Yoselin, learning to be a part of their child’s education is an important and empowering experience. And while many children from low-income families are behind academically even by Kindergarten and have a high incidence of dropping out of high school, Jayden and the other children in our program have an 84% chance of high school graduation versus the 53% chance of graduation of their peers.
Like many of the kids in Parent-Child Home, Jayden has quickly developed a love of books and learning that will help him succeed throughout elementary school, high school and beyond. “He loves Goodnight Moon and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom,” says Yoselin proudly. “He even used to call his teacher [Home Visitor] Chicka Chicka Boom Boom because she brought the book to him. He gets so excited every day that he knows that his teacher is coming. I am so glad that he loves to learn because I want to keep my son in school.”
 
“The thing that I love about this program the most, though,” says Yoselin, “is that the teacher helps both of us. I’ve learned to play with Jayden in a smart way, so I can keep helping him when the program is finished. Playing with him used to just mean tickling him or something. Now I know how to ask him questions that make him think, and I can be part of his learning. I’m so happy and so proud of what we both have learned.”