Success Story:

Merina, North Carolina

Formerly a nanny, Merina has always been interested in helping people. Since her aunt was
a retired paramedic and her grandma a retired nurse, Merina believes that service-oriented work is in her blood. Asa hardworking single mom, Merina needed support for her three-year-old son, Jaylin when she decided to pursue a career in the healthcare field.

Once Merina learned about Telamon’s Head Start program, she enrolled Jaylin right away. She was grateful that
her son’s teacher quickly identified a speech and language delay and connected him to additional support services.Speech therapy helped his ability to communicate effectively as well as to increase his self-confidence. Now at age 5, Jaylin is a spirited and loving child who likes to hug and interact with everyone he meets. Merina is certain that he’s going to excel, thanks to the nurturing experience he has had through the Head Start program.

Merina has been an active parent at the Head Start center in North Carolina. She bubbles over with enthusiasm when she recalls her first project decorating her son’s classroom door. As secretary on the center’s parent committee, she has become a passionate representative for families. “Merina is engaged, curious, inquisitive, and helpful,” said Yuvanka, a Family Services Assistant at the Head Start center. “She’s an asset to our center and our community,”

Like many parents during the pandemic, Merina had to deal with limited day care and schooling for her child. While the Head Start center was closed temporarily, she experienced the technical challenges of online learning and the feeling of social isolation. Even though her son’s Head Start teachers were supportive, Jaylin still experienced delays in speech and language. Fortunately, Yuvanka checked in with Merina and Jaylin on a regular basis. Yuvanka’s
positive and caring attitude made a big difference in keeping Merina’s spirits up and helping Jaylin stay on track.

Merina also experienced financial setbacks, but that didn’t stop her from moving forward. With the support of Telamon staff and her local community college, she was encouraged to pursue her educational and career goals. Likewise, the Head Start center provided childcare that was instrumental in allowing Merina to attend classes to prepare for the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) exam. After 6 months of study, she became a registered CNA. She feels confident that a job as a traveling CNA will provide a more secure income for her family.

“Where I am now is what I am most thankful for,” said Merina. Her pride and gratitude show on her face and in her voice.

Head Start is part of Telamon-TRC’s Early Childhood & Family Support services, a comprehensive program that offers quality early education in and out of the home, parenting education, health and social-emotional wellness services (including for women before, during, and after pregnancy), nutrition education, and family support services.

Since 1965 Telamon-TRC has helped individuals like you access services that lead to better jobs, better lives, and better communities. Learn more about our Head Start programs today!