Head Start, a Tri-County Community Action Program (TCCAP), is a federally funded preschool for 3-5-year-old children in low-income households. This program offers preschool experiences that develop school readiness skills such as emergent literacy, problem-solving, and decision making. With 217 families served in Carroll, Coos, and Grafton county, they provide ongoing support to these children and their families in areas of literacy, continuing education, and personal and family development.
When COVID-19 hit in March of 2020, Headstart transitioned to a remote and hybrid model. For many of their families, the pandemic raised concerns about food insecurity, mental health, and homelessness due to job loss.
TCCAP has pivoted to address these needs and fully support families where they need it the most. While remote, staff and volunteers had prepared and delivered meals to Headstart families to ensure they were receiving breakfast and lunch. In July, they had a 6-week program for the children that were moving up to kindergarten to make sure they were prepared for the transition.
TCCAP has remained a strong partner with Granite United Way over the years. In the fall of 2020, the Headstart programs received Velcro blocks from a generous donation received by Granite United Way from Velcro.
“The Velcro blocks helped with motor and tactile skills for our Headstart children, as well as helping build their imagination,” Sue Blanchard from TCCAP of Berlin, NH says. “Each child was able to have their own set in the classroom and will be able to bring it home at the end of the year.”
The Headstart program also received breakfast food items from Granite United Way’s Smart Start Cereal Drive, a food drive launched in September of 2020 to help reduce food insecurity throughout New Hampshire.
“With the Smart Start Cereal Drive donations, we were able to feed all of our families,” explained Blanchard. “These donations came at a time of need where food insecurity was a big piece during COVID-19.”
Almost a year later and their family workers and teachers continue to keep a strong relationship with the Headstart families. From checking in during drop-off and pick-up times to a scheduled Zoom meeting, each staff member is there to ensure that the families are receiving the support and services they need.
For more information about Headstart or the other programs and services offered by TCCAP, please visit www.tccap.org.