In recognition of October being National Head Start Awareness Month, a staff member of Breckinridge-Grayson Programs, Inc. in Leitchfield recently shared her family’s success story with Grayson County’s own Head Start program.
Vicki Wilson, Disabilities/Mental Health Specialist with Breckinridge-Grayson Programs, this week commemorated Head Start Awareness Month by sharing the success story of her son, Robby Proctor, a former student of the program born with a cleft lip and palate that required speech therapy by age 3.
“As a young mother of two small children, including one with a disability, I wanted both of my children to have early childhood experiences and/or speech therapy, but being a single parent with only child support as income, I knew I was unable to pay for it,” Wilson writes in the story of her children’s experiences with Head Start, “The Winding Path that Came Full Circle.”
According to Wilson, her late grandmother knew someone who worked at the Parent Child Center (what is now Breckinridge-Grayson Programs), and, based upon her application, both of her sons were accepted into the program.
Upon enrollment, Wilson’s sons attended the Parent Child Center four days per week and rode the bus each day. She recalls being encouraged to come into the center and participate in the children’s learning activities, an opportunity she embraced.
Proctor’s teacher, Gayle Parker, now retired, praised Wilson for this as it showed her what she could do herself to assist with his development.
“The speech therapist modeled how to work with my son so as to practice speech sounds, and that was done each night and carried over to the public school,” Wilson wrote.
Wilson also praises the school for teaching her sons self-help skills, such as learning to feed themselves.
Her and her children’s experiences at the Parent Child Center led Wilson to attend college for teacher education. Upon obtaining her Bachelor of Education, she taught remediation, then became an elementary school teacher for 15 years.
Wilson furthered her own education by obtaining a Master of Education with a Reading Endorsement and later a Rank I in Educational Leadership with an Elementary School Guidance Certificate, a Secondary Education School Guidance Certificate, and an Individual Intellectual Assessment Endorsement. The last 17 years of her employment prior to retirement were spent as an Evaluation Specialist for Grayson County Schools.
After retiring from the public school system in 2016, a position opened up at Breckinridge-Grayson Programs for a Disability/Mental Health Specialist, for which she applied and was hired, bringing her journey of employment in education full circle.
As for Proctor, who, to date, has had 36 surgeries in his life, he now works for a cleaning company contracted by Hardin County, and lives and attends all of his appointments on his own.
“He’s come a long way, but I think it all started here (at Breckinridge-Grayson Programs),” Wilson said.
“Vicky’s got a full-circle story that we love,” Breckinridge-Grayson Programs Executive Director Valeria Hayes said.
Breckinridge-Grayson Programs serves children ages 0-5, with infants aged 0-1 and pregnant women being served as part of Breckinridge-Grayson’s home-based program.
Today, Hayes said, 206 children are served by Breckinridge-Grayson Programs, and the staff consists of 92 employees. The program is income-based, and a family must be at or below the poverty level in order for students to be accepted into the program.
For more information about Breckinridge-Grayson Programs, visit breckgrayson.com.