The intern assigned to Mid-Delta Head Start program is assisting with summer recruitment efforts to increase enrollment in Phillips County. The target group is for families at or below the poverty level that don’t have access to the media currently used to inform families about the program.



Mid-Delta Community Services has been assigned a summer intern through the Shepherd Alliance Program in cooperation with AmeriCorps. Interns selected are required to work at their assigned locations for the 8-week summer program.
The intern assigned to Mid-Delta Head Start program is assisting with summer recruitment efforts to increase enrollment in Phillips County. The target group is for families at or below the poverty level that don’t have access to the media currently used to inform families about the program.
The overall mission of the Mid-Delta Head Start Program is to bring about a greater degree of social competence to disadvantaged children. Social competence helps children be more effective in dealing with his/her environment and later responsibilities in school and life. Social competence also takes into account the relationship of cognitive and intellectual development, physical and mental health, nutritional needs, and other factors that enable a child to be more productive.
Mid-Delta’s recruitment intern is responsible for contacting families in the outlying rural areas of Phillips County by going into homes to inform them about the benefits of the Head Start program, to identify children that are eligible for enrollment in the program and, if necessary, assist with completion of an enrollment application.
Margaret Staub, executive director of Mid-Delta stated, “We feel very lucky to have an intern that is also a former Head Start child. Rilee Hollingshead is originally from the small town of Wellston, Ohio and is a great example of what the Head start Program can do to help a child learn and be more prepared to continue their education.”
This 21-year-old young lady also feels lucky because she considers herself to be “a Head Start success story.”
Growing up extremely shy, largely due to a speech impediment, Hollingshead’s parents were very worried about her social and intellectual development. Even though her father held a full time job, they still did not make very much money, so it was difficult for her family to help her learn how to develop.
“Lucky for me I qualified for Head Start program,” she said.
Her speech impediment was so bad she started Head Start a year early. She received home visits the first year and began her path to better speech. The second year, she actually went to a Head Start center, where her speech therapy continued. Sometimes her mother went with her on the bus because her speech impediment made her very shy.
“Eventually I started to come out of my shell,” Hollingshead commented.
She began to love Head Start so much that soon she did not want her mother to go with her at all. Even though her speech was still pretty bad, her teachers began to give her parents positive remarks about how well she was improving and how intelligent she is. When she graduated from Head Start, she continued speech therapy for eight years before being able to talk correctly 100 percent of the time.
Throughout her life she has made wonderful grades and credits the Head Start Program for giving her the confidence to continue her education. She is currently a senior at Berea College in Kentucky where she was awarded a full tuition scholarship, majoring in Child and Family Studies with a minor in Health.
“I truly believe that if I hadn’t went to Head Start I would not be where I am today. I am a strong advocate of the program and have volunteered for the program at home,” she stated. “Working for the Mid-Delta Head Start program is giving me a new sense of pride and joy knowing I am helping children get on the right path to a “head start” in life. I can’t think of anything better I could be doing with my summer,” said Hollingshead.