Monday, October 30, 2006

Good News for Migrants and Texas Migrant Council

Today, I received a press release from Congressman Ruben Hinojosa's office regarding a $9,123,464 grant to provide expansion of the Migrant Head Start services. This is good news for migrants and for the organizations involved in providing the service.

If you are new to this blog, I spent this last summer up in Wisconsin working for a Migrant Head Start program run through United Migrant Opportunity Services. For a while, greed got the best of me and I worked in a canning factory with the migrants. I eventually got out and went back to work with the UMOS Head Start in Rice Lake, WI.

UMOS has been providing services to migrants since the 1960s, I believe. Recently, they have had to deal with real budget cuts and expanding need. You may wonder, what does UMOS have to do with the Texas Migrant Council? Well, TMC is also a well known and long time service provider for migrants. Where they can, TMC provides services directly to migrants. Given the same challenges, TMC will occasionally delegate centers to UMOS. Both agencies are non-profit; but by delegating the operation of their centers, TMC is able to quickly expand into areas where they don't have a presence, but other agencies do.

The Migrant Head Start services make a big difference in the lives of children and their parents. For the children, the benefit is that they get exposed to some of the things that they would lack being watched by a babysitter. Such things are art, science, language development, service referrals for developmentally delayed children, and even simple things like a safe environment. For parents, these programs make a difference because, for many of them, it's free daycare. However, some migrant parents do care about raising well-adjusted children who can break out of the migrant lifestyle.

We certainly did our best to teach the preschoolers that they could be anything they wanted to be. Those parents who wanted more for their children also wanted us to instill that dream. With the funding granted to TMC by Congress, the Migrant Head Start program can expand to unserved areas where migrants live and give migrant children a head start on the only thing that will help them succeed, education.
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