HENDERSON —Ayanna Jones has been a resident of Vance County for the past 30 years. She is the mother of two children, both of whom have attended Franklin Vance Warren Opportunity Inc.’s Head Start Program. Her son, Sumorrius McKoy Jr. is 4 and was enrolled in the Head Start program last year. He began pre-kindergarten at Zeb Vance Elementary School this year.

Jones credits Franklin Vance Warren Opportunity, Inc. Head Start for preparing her son for school. “My son had no social skills when he began Head Start virtually,” she said. “Starting off, he didn’t like it. But once he had his first day in the classroom, we could tell a difference. He was excited about going to school, and he gained the social skills he needed to have.”

In September, she enrolled her daughter, Khloe Peace, in the Early Head Start program. Jones had her daughter in daycare prior to the head start program. While in daycare, Ms. Jones was always worried about Khloe’s health because she was constantly sick.

“As a mother, having a sick child during these times makes you very anxious,” Jones said. “I feel safer now about my daughter going to school. At Head Start, there is more care with cleanliness, and my daughter constantly cries because she doesn’t want to leave. It makes you feel good as a parent that the people who have your child are taking good care of them.”

Jones also praises the Early Head Start program on educating children at very young ages on COVID-19 and COVID prevention.

The CDC recommends that children under 2 years of age should not wear a mask. However, the Early Head Start program begins working with children early. Naima Mosely, the Head Start and Early Head Start Director, said, “We recognize the importance of early COVID education. We begin introducing the mask before the age of 2 so the young children can become familiar with the mask and know how to appropriately wear them.”

As COVID has continued to affect the health of our rural communities, Head Start takes every effort to ensure children and parents are educated on COVID-19 prevention.

There are seats currently available in the Head Start program. Head Start and Early Head Start accepts applications throughout the year.

“I would recommend any and everybody to enroll their children into Head Start because it has been nothing but a good experience for me and both my children,” Jones said

For more information on the Head Start and Early Head Start programs, contact Naima Mosely, 252-492-4196, ext. 8828, or by email at naimamosley@fvwopp.com.

Ariel Williams is community education director for Franklin Vance Warren Opportunity Inc.