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Head Start program helps parents grow with community

Posted: 3:08 PM, Jun 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-16 17:08:19-04

PAYETTE, Idaho — The 6 On Your Side Community Baby Shower is right around the corner!

Donations to the baby shower help programs like Head Start. Head Start works to help Idaho's most rural families through different projects like a summer garden.

Each week, a group of parents come together in the Payette Community Garden to learn something new, socialize, and create connections for the adults and the children. Cassidy Cortez, who is part of the group, says having a community that supports her is important.

"Getting to meet other parents has helped me in a way because I'm a new mom so it was a little difficult at first, but now it's completely different," Cortez said. "I know that I'm not alone."

Barbara Cabrera, a Head Start teacher, says like much of Idaho, the Head Start program is seeing explosive growth.

"The need here in Payette County, I mean we have a high need for the Head Start and home based program," Cabrera said.

Teachers help with group classes and carry out weekly one-on-one connections in each family's home. As a teen mom, Taylor Eckhart credits her home visits with keeping her in school.

"I'm in the 11th grade, but I'm going to try and graduate in December because this gives me credits too. It helps me with my school," Eckhart said.

New parents recieve educational and emotional encouragement, and can also earn baby items for participating from the parent store. Cabrera says the parent store needs more baby items as the program grows.

"We are very low on diapers and wipes and I think we used our last pack of wipes yesterday," Cabrera.

If you'd like to donate to Community Baby Shower, you can do so at donation bins around the Treasure Valley , or use #IdahoBabies on social media.